Thursday, June 16, 2011

Domestic help protected in new ILO convention

Business World Philippines
June 16, 2011 11:00:23 PM

GENEVA -- The International Labor Organization yesterday passed a landmark treaty giving protection to an estimated 52.6 million domestic workers across the world.

The new convention would ensure domestic workers enjoyed conditions "not less favorable" than other workers, requiring governments to ensure they understood their rights, preferably through written contracts.

Domestic workers get a full rest day per week and should not remain with an employer’s household during their annual leave or rest days.

The convention, which was adopted with 396 votes for, 16 against and 63 abstentions, will come into effect upon the ratification of two countries.

The Philippines and Uruguay have asaid they would ratify the accord.

"This is a historic moment at the 100th session of the International Labour Conference, and we are making an important turning point," said a United Arab Emirates envoy, speaking on behalf of Gulf states, all of which supported the treaty.

ILO data, which is a compilation of national statistics, indicate that there were at least 52.6 million domestic workers worldwide in 2010. But there are reasons to believe that the true number could lie close to 100 million, the agency added.

Joining the convention is only the first step.

Countries would not have to implement the treaty until ratification, while others can also opt not to sign up, which could reduce its bite.

While it has secured the support of countries ranging from the United States, Indonesia and Brazil, others, such as Britain, abstained. -- AFP


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