Invisible jobs: The situation of domestic workers

Briefing 08-12-2015

Domestic workers are persons engaged in household services such as childcare, care of the elderly or housekeeping – via a formal or informal employment relationship. They can be nationals of the country or migrants, and can have varied working conditions, involving living within or outside the household. More than 80% of the domestic workers in the world are women. Due to the 'invisible' and sometimes illegal nature of their job, domestic workers are often confronted by problems such as low pay, irregular residence and employment conditions, no social security or benefits, no access to childcare facilities for their own children and limited time off work. Some subgroups, such as immigrants or live-in workers, are particularly vulnerable to discrimination. Despite initiatives in several European Union Member States, domestic workers are not always offered protection by national labour laws, and opportunities for 'decent work' can be limited. The implementation by the Member States of Convention No 189 and Recom¬mendation No 201 of the International Labour Organization (ILO) could provide domestic workers with guarantees of decent work and similar working conditions to those of workers in other economic sectors.