Research Brief

Disability rights and domestic work in ASEAN

In 2023 the ILO TRIANGLE in ASEAN programme conducted a study about the skills and working conditions of migrant domestic workers in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, the findings from which were published in the report Skilled to care, forced to work? Recognizing the skills profiles of migrant domestic workers in ASEAN amid forced labour and exploitation. This study asked 1,200 migrant domestic workers about care to persons with disabilities and about protection if they themselves acquire a disability. The study also surveyed 600 employers. This brief is based on the study’s findings.

Briefing note | 03 December 2023
The quality of care provided to a person with disabilities can be critical to their social and economic inclusion. Providing adequate care requires that carers have decent working conditions that recognize the demands and skill of the work, including through decent wages and sufficient rest. Across Southeast Asia, much care to persons with disabilities is delivered within the home by a migrant domestic worker. Whilst many of these workers have developed the skills necessary to provide care, they are rarely met with decent working conditions, often working long hours, on call throughout the night, for less than the minimum wage.

This brief recommends that Association of South-East Asia (ASEAN) Member States implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) enabling full social and economic inclusion of persons with disabilities. Towards this, decent working conditions, as well as skills training and recognition, should be ensured for migrant domestic workers and other care service providers.