Domestic Workers

Sweden ratifies the Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No. 189)

Sweden becomes the 28th ILO Member State to have ratified this Convention.

News | 12 April 2019
The Government of Sweden deposited the instrument of ratification of the Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No. 189) on 4 April 2019. Sweden thus becomes the 28th ILO Member State to ratify Convention No. 189 and the 8th State in the European region to ratify this important instrument.

The objective of Convention No. 189 is to improve living and working conditions for the more than 67 million domestic workers throughout the world, who are among the most vulnerable and poorly remunerated workers. Domestic workers frequently work in conditions of informality in which they are deprived of basic rights, such as limits on the length of the work day, the right to rest periods, a minimum wage that enables them to meet their basic needs, and access to social protection, including maternity protection. Convention No. 189 calls for this category of workers to enjoy access to decent working conditions and fundamental protections equivalent to those enjoyed by other workers.

Given that women are concentrated in the domestic work sector, Convention No. 189 is a powerful tool for promotion of equality between men and women in the world of work. Sweden’s ratification of Convention No. 189 reaffirms its commitment to ILO principles of gender equality and decent work and supports measures already taken at national level to protect the rights of domestic workers.

The Domestic Work Act, 1970 contains provisions in relation to work that an employee carries out in the employer’s household, including working hours, overtime, and the employment contract. It contains provisions regulating working time for those employed by private households, covering those who provide care for the elderly and those with special needs.

Domestic work in Sweden is also covered under general labour legislation, including the Environment Act of 2009, which stipulates that the employers of those who provide cleaning, maintenance, and laundry services in private households must ensure a healthy and safe environment for their workers, regardless of whether the employer is a company or a private household.

Domestic workers in Sweden have the same access to maternity leave and social security as other workers.