Conditions of Work and Employment Series No. 79

Initial effects of Constitutional Amendment 72 on domestic work in Brazil

The main objective of this report is to examine recent changes in labour relations in domestic work in Brazil, especially with respect to legal mechanisms and, subsequently, provide a profile of women engaged in domestic work. As one of the earliest forms of labour relations in Brazil, domestic work maintains ambivalent links with the public and private spheres of modern Brazilian society. Between the invisibility of domestic workers (both male and female) and of the tasks they perform, and the affirmation that such workers are subjects of rights, a series of distinct images has been produced, ranging from postulation that this is an occupation on the verge of “extinction”, to resistance to the granting of undue “privileges” to this category of workers. Some of these representations applied to women in domestic work reflect traditional sentiments of deeply ingrained prejudice that perpetuate the country’s historical social inequalities.