ILO hosts regional consultation on changing behaviour of employers of domestic workers

Bringing together regional civil society organizations and trade unions, this consultation seeks to explore new thinking on how to shift social norms in domestic work

There are an estimated 3.16 million migrant domestic workers employed in the Arab States region. Poor working conditions in the sector can be seen as the result of both insufficient national legal protection, as well as pervasive social norms. For example, although prohibited by law, employers often continue to withhold workers’ passports, prevent the worker from having a weekly rest day, or disregard maximum daily working hours.

Much research has been conducted into changing behaviours in other contexts – from tackling domestic violence to encouraging communities to recycle. Yet the practice of trying to change behaviour of domestic work employers is still emerging. A handful of organizations in the region have started outreach to employers of domestic workers through advocacy, campaigns and information sharing initiatives.

Bringing together civil society organizations and trade unions working on this topic in the region, this consultation seeks to explore new thinking on how to shift social norms in domestic work – specifically how to change the behaviour of employers of domestic workers to increase compliance with applicable labour laws and standards.

Participants will:
  • Create a mapping of the various initiatives targeting employers of domestic workers in the region;
  • Learn about application of behavioural insights for policy challenges, from Nudge Lebanon;
  • Learn about evidence-based, participatory campaign development and impact assessment using a Communications for Development (C4D) approach, from IOM-X; and
  • Participate in parallel workshop sessions to pilot different behaviour change messages, drawing on the ILO ‘Outreach to Employers of Domestic Workers Training Toolkit'.

This regional consultation is hosted by the ILO Regional Fair Migration Project in the Middle East (FAIRWAY), with support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The FAIRWAY project works to promote fair migration (including fair recruitment) and the elimination of forced labour and trafficking for labour exploitation. To address discriminatory attitudes and actions towards migrant workers, the project works to sensitize the public on the rights of migrant workers, potential issues of abuse and fair migration solutions through partnerships with the civil society, social partners and the media.