Introductory guide

Labour inspection and other compliance mechanisms in the domestic work sector

This publication aims to contribute to a better understanding of the challenges for compliance in the domestic work sector. It also identifies how countries have defined policies and practices to provide better services to domestic workers and their employers in the domain of working conditions, with a specific focus on labour inspection. The guide provides information in a user-friendly manner, aiming to assist member States to identify practical measures to address non-compliance issues and to better shape the action of relevant institutions, in particular labour inspectorates, to bring the laws protecting domestic workers into practice.

This guide focuses on the challenges that countries face in promoting compliance with labour legislation covering the domestic work sector. It intends to provide government agencies, including labour inspectorates and other institutions that enforce labour regulations, as well as social partners and, more generally, domestic workers and their employers, with an overview of:
■ the ILO framework on domestic workers’ rights;
■ current challenges to the effective application of national labour legislation covering domestic work;
■ enabling measures for compliance;
■ existing labour inspection systems and methods dealing with domestic work with a view to highlighting existing gaps and weaknesses, as well as good practices.

Where possible, the guide provides examples and suggestions for advocacy and awareness-raising, monitoring, and law enforcement initiatives that have been or could be implemented in different countries. Although special attention is paid to labour inspection systems as these are, by definition, the public service for protection of the rights of workers while engaged in work, other compliance mechanisms are mentioned to the extent that they apply to domestic workers and their employers.

The first part of the guide is devoted to the specificities of the sector, related challenges, and ways in which international labour standards and national legislation have addressed them. The second part introduces practices adopted by countries in an effort to enhance compliance in the domestic work sector.

Lastly, practical tools, such as guidelines for the development of labour inspection campaigns for the sector, a checklist for inspection visits, and examples of model labour contracts, are contained in the appendices.

The guide does not seek to be comprehensive on the subjects that it covers, but rather to briefly introduce the variety of challenges to compliance in the sector and the specific responses needed in order to address them.