Domestic employee challenges vs Business employee

Last edit: Mar 30, 2021

Domestic workers lack the support of effective organizations and mechanisms to negotiate with employers as the work is often informal, performed outside of labour regulations and therefore lack the appropriate social protection.

Furthermore, agreements on wages and other conditions of employment are often absent. The main reason why such dysfunctional aspects often occur uniquely to domestic workers is due to their sole dependency on the employer.

Domestic work takes place discreetly outside of the public eye and it is therefore difficult to monitor the protection of workers' rights. This allows for them to become susceptible to exploitation and abuse as many of them are simply unaware as to the benefits and protections they are rightfully entitled to.

Differents in Rights

In a report presented by the International Labour Organization, it was found that there are differences in the rights of domestic employees and other workers under national labour legislation.

Evidence collected from member states indicates that a significant number of countries exclude domestic workers from national laws regulating domestic work and offer lower protections than those available to other workers.

  • Only 10% of all domestic workers (5.3 million) are covered by general labour legislation to the same extent as other workers.
  • On the other hand, 29.9% of the domestic employees work in countries where they are totally excluded from national labour legislation.

The problem is especially prevalent when it comes to minimum wages, limiting working hours, ensuring occupational safety and health, and inclusion in social security schemes.

  • Around the globe, 56.6% of domestic workers have no limitation of normal weekly hours and for 3,6% the limitation of normal weekly hours higher than for other workers.
  • In Asia and the Pacific 99% of domestic employees have no limitation of normal weekly hours. The weekly rest requirements for domestic workers differs from the minimum hours required for business workers.
  • Some 44.9% of all domestic workers are not legally entitled to any weekly rest under national laws and 4.5% have a weekly rest that has shorter duration than for other workers.

Under national legislation, domestic workers usually do not receive the same amount of annual leave as other workers.

  • Some 44.4% of domestic workers are exempted from provisions and 5.2% of domestic workers are given less leave than other employees.

Learn more about employee rights in different countries

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