New ILO's standards will help 21.5 million domestic workers

The Regional Model Competency Standards (RMCS) for Domestic Work will help more than 20 million domestic worker in Asia and the Pacific if ASEAN regional integration ensures the mutual recognition of skills of workers across borders, according to the ILO's new publication.

Press release | Bangkok, Thailand | 02 February 2015
ILO NEWS (Bangkok) – More than 20 million domestic workers in Asia and the Pacific region will benefit from the Regional Model Competency Standards (RMCS) for Domestic Work, according to a new publication “Regional Model Competency Standards: Domestic Work” by the International Labour Organization (ILO). But this will happen only if the RMCS is applied to ASEAN regional integration, by ensuring the mutual recognition of skills of workers across borders.

“The implementation of the RMCS will greatly benefit domestic workers in the region,” said Tomoko Nishimoto, Assistant Director-General and Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific of the ILO. “The RMCS are the reference standards which at a regional level can be used to underpin efficient and effective skills development, primarily by developing and implementing training, assessing the outcomes of training, and assessing a person’s existing skills and competencies.”

Based on the ILO estimate in 2010, approximately 21.5 million domestic workers or 40.8 per cent of the global total are working in Asia and the Pacific.

The RMCS cover key tasks of domestic workers, including cleaning and basic housekeeping, cooking and food handling, caring for infants and children, caring for elderly people and caring for household pets and plants. It includes core competencies of communications skills, organizing and managing their own work. The RMCS will also benefit countries that are currently developing national standards or reviewing existing standards.

“Many migrants have skills that are acquired in their home country, but not all of their skills are formally certified,” said Akiko Sakamoto, the ILO Specialist on Skills and Employability. “These RMCS are essential for protecting migrant workers’ rights and to ensure their better reintegration in their home countries.”

The publication emphasises that government policies and programmes must encourage continued development of the competencies and qualifications of domestic workers, to enhance their professional development and employment opportunities.

“The promotion of decent work for domestic workers must be encouraged. Skills development and recognition of domestic workers plays an important part in meeting this challenge, especially in the light of ASEAN integration in 2015”, says Carmela Torres, the ILO’s Senior Specialist on Skills and Employability.

“Cooperation between stakeholders is the key to success. The ILO, as a vital player on labour issues, is committed to providing technical assistance and advisory services in various forms in the area of mutual skills recognition,” said Ms Torres.

The publication was created by experts working for the ILO Regional Skills Programme (RSP) for Asia and the Pacific. The programme also operates the Asia Pacific Skills and Employability Community of Practice (CoP), a web-based platform and interactive space for exchanging and sharing knowledge and experiences on the topics related to skills and employability.

For further information please contact:

Ms Carmela Torres
ILO Senior Specialist on Skills and Employability

Ms Ruttiya Bhula-or
Programme Officer for Regional Skills Programme
Tel.: +662 288 2244