Full text 
Procedure : 2011/2678(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B7-0296/2011

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 11/05/2011 - 16
CRE 11/05/2011 - 16

Votes :

PV 12/05/2011 - 12.8
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :


Texts adopted
PDF 123kWORD 41k
Thursday, 12 May 2011 - Strasbourg
ILO convention supplemented by a recommendation on domestic workers

European Parliament resolution of 12 May 2011 on the proposed ILO convention supplemented by a recommendation on domestic workers

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the question of 24 February 2011 to the Commission on ILO convention on domestic workers (O-000092/2011 – B7-0305/2011),

–  having regard to its resolution of 23 March 2006 on demographic challenges and solidarity between generations(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 January 2008 on the Community strategy 2007-2012 on health and safety at work(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 19 October 2010 on precarious women workers(3),

–  having regard to its resolution of 20 October 2010 on the role of minimum income in combating poverty and promoting an inclusive society in Europe(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 6 July 2010 on atypical contracts, secured professional paths, and new forms of social dialogue(5),

–  having regard to Council Directive 89/391/EEC of 12 June 1989 on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health of workers at work (framework directive)(6) and to its individual directives,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 24 May 2006 entitled ‘Promoting decent work for all - The EU contribution to the implementation of the decent work agenda in the world’ (COM(2006)0249) and Parliament's resolution of 23 May 2007(7) on promoting decent work for all,

–  having regard to the International Labour Office (ILO) Reports IV(1) and IV (2), entitled ‘Decent work for domestic workers’, drawn up for the 99th session of the International Labour Conference in June 2010, and Reports IV(1) (or the so-called ‘Brown Report’) and IV(2) (or the so-called ‘Blue report’, published in two volumes) entitled ‘Decent work for domestic workers’, drawn up for the 100th session of the International Labour Conference in June 2011,

–  having regard the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on the professionalisation of domestic workers(8),

–  having regard to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR), in particular Article 4.1, prohibiting slavery and servitude, and Article 14, prohibiting discrimination,

–  having regard to the European Convention on the Legal Status of Migrant Workers (1977),

–  having regard to the European Agreement on ‘Au Pair’ Placement (1969),

–  having regard to Recommendation 1663 of the European Charter of Rights for Domestic Workers (2004),

–  having regard to Rules 115(5) and 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the crisis has been wiping out millions of jobs and has aggravated job precarity and poverty; whereas 17% of EU residents are at risk of poverty; and whereas 23 million EU residents are unemployed,

B.  whereas in some countries much domestic work takes place in the informal economy, under precarious employment conditions and/or as undeclared work,

C.  whereas in industrialised countries domestic work accounts for between 5 and 9% of all employment; whereas the vast majority of the people employed in that sector are women; whereas such work is undervalued, underpaid and informal, and whereas domestic workers' vulnerability means they are often discriminated against and can easily be subjected to unequal, unfair or abusive treatment,

D.  whereas migrant workers taking low-skilled temporary jobs on the periphery of the labour market or jobs as domestic workers may be exposed to multiple discrimination, since they often work under poor, irregular conditions; whereas efforts should be made to minimise mistreatment of, irregular payments to and acts of violence or sexual abuse against migrant workers; whereas they are often unaware of their rights, have restricted access to public services or face problems accessing them, have limited knowledge of the local language and lack social networks; and whereas domestic workers accompanying their employers from a third country are particularly vulnerable,

E.  whereas the aim of the convention is to provide legal recognition for domestic work as work, extend rights to all domestic workers and to prevent violations and abuses so as to provide a legal framework for all domestic workers and ensure that their work does not take place outside the regulatory framework,

F.  whereas many employers of domestic workers themselves lack understanding or appropriate advice and assistance as regards labour law, social security and the obligations of employers of domestic workers,

G.  whereas au pairs are a group of domestic workers who are often not regarded as regular workers; whereas numerous reports indicate that this can lead to abuse by, for example, forcing au pairs to work excessive hours; whereas au pairs must receive protection equal to other domestic workers,

1.  Welcomes and supports the ILO initiative to adopt a convention supplemented by a recommendation on decent work for domestic workers; calls on the EU countries which are members of the ILO to adopt these instruments at the ILO Conference in June 2011; calls on the EU Member States to ratify and implement the convention and recommendation quickly;

2.  Considers that the adoption, ratification and implementation of an ILO convention on decent work for domestic workers can have an impact by reducing the numbers of working poor;

3.  Considers that the adoption, ratification and implementation of such a convention would address the needs of one of the most vulnerable categories of worker;

4.  Considers that the adoption, ratification and implementation of such a convention would not only improve the position of the large number of women on the labour market for domestic work by guaranteeing them decent working conditions, but would also enhance their degree of social inclusion;

5.  Fully supports the rights-based approach to employment promoted in the draft text of the convention and recommendation; acknowledges the focus on creating decent work for domestic workers, and supports the definition of domestic worker set out in the convention; welcomes the fact that the convention clearly states that every worker covered by this definition has a right to be dealt with in a manner consistent with core labour standards, social security, non-discrimination and equal treatment whilst seeking or whilst in employment, protection against abusive practices by employment agencies, training and career development, health and safety protection, maternity protection and provisions on working/rest time, protection against abuses and harassment, freedom of association and representation, collective bargaining, collective action and lifelong learning; supports the fact that the convention calls for a minimum employment age and the elimination of gender and ethnic pay gaps;

6.  Calls for the provision of broader access to readily available and affordable high-quality childcare and elderly-care facilities, thus helping to ensure that workers are not forced to undertake these duties on an informal basis; stresses, in addition, the need to ensure that precarious domestic care jobs are transformed, wherever possible, into decent, well-paid sustainable jobs;

7.  Calls for the development of a campaign for a step-by-step transformation of precarious workers into regular workers; calls for the endorsement of a programme aiming to educate workers on the impacts of precarious work, including the occupational health and safety implications;

8.  Believes that using best practice from certain regions or Member States, e.g. model contracts, could provide more stable forms of employment for domestic workers employed in family homes;

9.  Believes that the focus of the convention should be on promoting productive and rewarding high-quality jobs and the developing labour law provisions that effectively protect the rights of domestic workers, guarantee them equal treatment, offer a maximum level of protection and safeguard their personal dignity;

10.  Notes that the trend towards an increase in the proportion of non-standard or atypical contracts has a strong gender and generational dimension and that this should be acknowledged in the text of the convention and recommendation;

11.  Points out that high unemployment and labour market segmentation need to be overcome by giving all workers equal rights and investing in job creation, skills and lifelong learning;

12.  Underlines that combating undeclared work should be accompanied by measures to create viable and sustainable employment alternatives and to support people in accessing the open labour market, including through genuine self-employment;

13.  Believes that in the convention policies should be taken on board that enable all people, including the weakest and most disadvantaged, to have effective access to the formal labour market and to equal opportunities;

14.  Calls on the Member States to ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 18 December 1990(9);

15.  Considers that the problem of undeclared work needs to be tackled; states that the domestic work sector is characterised by a high level of informality and undeclared work, that many migrant workers are employed in this sector, and that their rights are often violated; further, considers it essential to combat precarious work in general, given that this problem affects migrant workers in particular, thus worsening their already vulnerable position;

16.  Takes the view that it might be necessary to adapt legislation to create flexible and secure contractual arrangements which guarantee equal treatment; considers it essential to examine the specific situation faced by migrant workers and their families;

17.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the ILO.

(1) OJ C 292 E, 1.12.2006, p. 131.
(2) OJ C 41 E, 19.2.2009, p. 14.
(3) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0365.
(4) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0375.
(5) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0263.
(6) OJ L 183, 29.6.1989, p. 1.
(7) OJ C 102 E, 24.4.2008, p. 321.
(8) EESC, SOC/372, 26 May 2010.
(9) A/RES/45/158.

Legal notice - Privacy policy