Domestic work – Convention C189

Decent Work for Domestic Workers

Interaction programme to observe 10th anniversary of ILO Convention No. 189 on International Domestic Workers Day 2021


Globally, the ILO estimates that there are at least 67 million domestic workers (excluding child labourers). Further, 80 percent of the domestic workers are females.  A domestic worker can be of various types and nature, some of them may work on full-time or part-time basis; may be employed by a single household or by multiple employers; may be residing in the household of the employer (live-in worker) or may be living in his or her own residence (live-out) and migrant domestic workers who chose to migrate to foreign employment as domestic workers Domestic workers predominantly women, comprise one of the most disadvantaged workforces in the world of work. Many of them come from poverty, socially disadvantaged groups and have had limited access to education and are most often vulnerable to physical, sexual, psychological or other forms of abuse, harassment and violence because their workplace is shielded from the public and they generally lack co-workers. Domestic workers usually undertake cleaning, cooking, care for children, the elderly and disabled, gardening, driving and guarding private households, but then the tasks vary across countries and over time.

It is estimated that Nepal has at least 200,000 domestic workers and majority of them are female. According to a rapid assessment conducted by the Home Workers' Union Nepal of General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (GEFONT), 85 per cent of the domestic workers lost their jobs because of COVID-19 and are now unemployed. They are often excluded from social and labor protection and face serious decent work deficits. In general, domestic workers perform more than one or multiple of these activities in their workplace.

Domestic workers have suffered various impacts resulting from the pandemic, one of the main consequences of COVID-19 has been reduction of employers consequently reducing the working hours and, in some cases, a loss of jobs, resulting from fear and restricted mobility associated with confinement measures of lockdown  and the employers are viewing their domestic workers as virus carriers as many of them work at different houses and have to come into contact with many people.

Likewise, the situation has differently affected the groups of domestic workers. Live-in and live-out domestic workers are facing differentiated but exacerbated impacts. For live-in domestic workers, there has been an increase in workload by many folds. Since all the members of the family they work for are at home the whole time. This has impacted their wellbeing as they have very few hours for proper rest. On the other hand, for live-out domestic workers, due to lockdown there is no availability of public transportation to the workplace on their regular route to continue their work and earn a living. In some cases, both live-in and live-out domestic workers have continued working during the lockdown too but they have not received their wages on time

Objective of the Webinar:

The key objective of the program are:
  • To have discussion with the internal as well as returnee migrant Nepali domestic workers and to get update of their status during COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • To document and identify the needs and demands of the domestic workers (both internal and returnee migrant domestic workers) and share it among all the concerned stakeholders.
  • To discuss the reasons for Nepal ratifying ILO C189.


The expected outcome of the program are:
  • Domestic worker and migrant rights organizations are mobilized to advocate for Nepal ratifying ILO C189
  • The government along with other concerned stakeholders will be committed to make necessary approaches to ratify ILO C189.


Participants of this discussion include members of government, workers’ organization, civil society organization, UN personnel, representatives from International Development agencies, Youth groups, domestic workers and media personnel.

Join us live on:
Zoom link:


Note: Simultaneous interpretation service from Nepali to English and vice-versa is available during the event.