Report: More Than 52 Million Domestic Workers Worldwide

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At least 52 million people around the world – 83 percent of whom are women -- are employed as domestic workers, according to the first research of its kind conducted by the International Labour Organization. Despite the size of the sector, many domestic workers experience poor working conditions and insufficient legal protection. Thirty percent of them are excluded from national labor legislation; 45 percent have no entitlement to weekly rest periods/paid annual leave; and more than a third of women domestic workers have no maternity protection.

“Domestic workers are frequently expected to work longer hours than other workers and in many countries do not have the same rights to weekly rest that are enjoyed by other workers. Combined with the lack of rights, the extreme dependency on an employer and the isolated and unprotected nature of domestic work can render them vulnerable to exploitation and abuse,” said Sandra Polaski, ILO Deputy Director-General.

The report, Domestic workers across the world: Global and regional statistics and the extent of legal protection, follows the adoption, in June 2011, of a new ILO Convention and Recommendation on domestic work. These new international standards aim to ensure decent working conditions and pay for domestic workers worldwide. The Convention so far has been ratified by three countries. Three other countries have completed national ratification procedures and many others have initiated them.

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