Fact sheet

The Legal Gap Analysis of Myanmar National Laws and International Standards for Domestic Workers

The nature of domestic work differs from other work. There is often only one employee per employer or workplace. The workplace is a home not a business. Many domestic workers not only work but also live in their employers’ houses making it difficult to separate work and personal time. It is work that has traditionally been done by the wife or mother in a household and has been considered a woman’s duty and as such has not been respected as work and has not been remunerated. For these reasons, labour laws all over the world have, until recently, failed to recognize domestic workers as workers and have thus left domestic workers vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.

This changed at a global level when the International Labour Conference adopted the Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers (Convention No189, referred to as C189) in 2011. The Convention and its supporting Recommendation 201, (R201) were developed through consultations with governments, employers and workers’ associations and domestic workers groups, and set standards for the working and living conditions of domestic workers.
Concerned by the unprotected status of domestic workers in Myanmar and recognizing the increasing demand for domestic workers at home and overseas, the Working Group on Legal Protection of Domestic Workers decided to conduct a gap analysis on the current legal and policy framework in Myanmar vis-à-vis international standards for domestic work as set forth in C189 and R201. Where gaps are identified between the current legal framework and the international standards, the analysis provides recommendations with a view toward improving the protection of domestic workers and ensuring domestic workers enjoy equal rights with other workers. The analysis exposes incoherencies between Myanmar law and international standards and also between different pieces of labour laws within the country and provides recommendations to address these incoherencies.