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20 Mar, 2013

U.N., Trade Unions Issue Report on Protecting Growing Number of Domestic Workers


10 March 2013: Today, the International Trades Union Congress and UN Women joined forces to launch a new publication “Domestic Workers Count Too: Implementing Protections for Domestic Workers. The launch event, co-sponsored by UN Women, ITUC and the government of the Philippines, takes place at a side event of the 57th UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York, entitled, “Domestic Workers Count Too: Ensuring Protection, Upholding Rights”.

ITUC and UN Women join forces to launch a new publicationBased on personal testimonies from Bolivia, the State of New York, USA, the Philippines and South Africa, the ITUC-UN Women briefing kit is an encouragement to all governments to take measures to ensure that domestic workers are recognized and protected by law. Domestic workers represent an integral part of the labour force worldwide, and this is expected to grow in the coming years.

Today they already make up 4-10% and 1-2.5% of the workforce in developing and industrialized countries, respectively. 83% of these workers are female. Millions are migrants leaving behind their own sons and daughters, while they take care of the children of others. Yet 40% of countries worldwide have no kind of protection whatsoever.

Building upon promising advances in the international normative framework and national practice that embodies these human rights standards, in many countries, the briefing kit explains how legal protections benefit not only domestic workers but society as a whole. “UN Women is committed to working even more closely with key partners to ensure legal and social protection for domestic workers”, said Michelle Bachelet, the Executive Director of UN Women. “The right of domestic workers to be recognized and protected by laws is fundamental to their human rights. We should recognize that domestic workers make a major contribution to societies, which benefits all of us”.

But the kit goes beyond making the case for legal protection. It demonstrates how standards can actually be applied and scaled up in all countries. “Domestic workers deserve decent work just like any other workers. Our “12 by 12 campaign” is building a global movement of domestic workers demanding justice for this forgotten category of workers. We urge all governments to extend labour laws to this sector” says Sharan Burrow, the General Secretary of the ITUC .