National Policy for Domestic Workers (draft)

• In a bid to give recognition to domestic workers besides making them eligible for minimum wages, social security and safe working conditions, labour ministry is drafting the national policy on domestic workers which will benefit nearly 40 lakh domestic workers.

• The ministry of labour & employment is considering formulate a National Policy on Domestic Workers which is in the draft stage.

• As per the National Sample Survey, there are an estimated 39 lakhs people employed as domestic workers by private households, of which 26 lakhs are female domestic workers.

• According to Gangwar, some of the salient features of the proposed draft are inclusion of domestic workers in the existing legislations, giving them the right to register as unorganized workers as a result it will facilitate their access to rights and benefits.

Key highlights

• Following this legislation, the domestic workers will be entitled to right to form their own associations/unions, right to minimum wages and access to social security, right to enhance their skills, protection of domestic workers from abuse and exploitation, giving them access to courts, tribunals for grievance redressal, establishment of a mechanism for regulation of private placement agencies and establishment of a grievance redressal system for domestic workers.

• The ministry has been working on a national policy for domestic workers over past three years but various propositions have been pulled down by employers who said they would significantly add to their monthly bills.

• The ministry is trying to push the policy forward this time because it is drafting a universal social security code that would cover even domestic workers, who are otherwise deprived of benefits such as medical insurance, pension, maternity and mandatory leave.

• The draft policy will have to go through various rounds of stakeholder consultation before it is finalised.

• The Central Government is already implementing Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008, to provide social security relating to life and disability cover, health and maternity benefits, old age protection to the unorganised workers including domestic workers.

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Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies & interventions for development in various sectors & issues arising out of their design & implementation

Prelims level: National policy for domestic workers

Mains level: Welfare measures for domestic workers

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