Workshop on the Rights of Domestic Workers

The half-day workshop was organised in collaboration with the Labour Department of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi.

Raaj Kumar Anand, the Delhi Cabinet Minister, acknowledged the contribution of the 500,000 domestic workers in Delhi, who form a large share of the labour force. He appreciated their efforts and contribution to families and society, commemorating the International Domestic Workers Day which is celebrated on 16 June every year. He thanked the ILO for its support both at the global and local levels for improving the working conditions of domestic workers. He acknowledged that domestic workers continue to work with low wages and insufficient social security. He expressed that the Deli Government under aegis of Arvind Kejriwal is dedicated for improving the welfare conditions of domestic workers in Delhi.

Satoshi Sasaki, Deputy Director of the ILO Country Office for India congratulated the Delhi Government for initiating to draft a legislation for domestic workers in Delhi and highlighted that a separate legislation for domestic workers is important to protect the rights of domestic workers and regulate their working conditions as they often fall outside of the existing laws. Ms. Aya Matsuura, Gender Specialist, ILO Decent Work Technical Support Team for South Asia in New Delhi, elaborated how the ILO Convention on Domestic Workers, 2011 (No. 189) can provide guidelines for national laws, to regulate the unique conditions of domestic workers and ensure their human and labour rights.

Swati Dey, Fellow at the Delhi Assembly, presented key contents to be included in a Domestic Workers Bill. Domestic workers expressed concerns about the absence of maternity protection and adequate sanitary facilities and demanded a clear regulation of working time, leave and absence so that they would be able to enjoy decent living standards both at home and at work. Domestic workers also shared their concerns regarding sexual harassment at work as they also face challenges in reporting and seeking remedies.

The workshop witnessed close to 100 participants including representatives from the Labour department, trade unions, workers’ organizations, and civil society organizations, as well as domestic workers. The participants worked on recommendations to be submitted to the Delhi Labour Department for further action. These included measures to contribute to a strong social safety net and clear regulations under a new Act.