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Domestic Workers Convention: Labor Rights Treaty to Take Effect

Human Rights Desk


The Philippines’ ratification of the Domestic Workers Convention will bring the groundbreaking international treaty into legal force, promising better working conditions and key labor protections for millions of domestic workers, Human Rights Watch said on August 06.

The convention takes effect one year after the second ratification. The Philippine Senate ratified the instrument on August 06, 2012; President Benigno Aquino III signed it on May 18, 2012, following the treaty’s first ratification, by Uruguay, on April 30. “The Philippines’ ratification of the Domestic Workers Convention means that basic labor rights for domestic workers are finally becoming a reality.

As the treaty goes into effect, millions of women and girls will have the chance for better working conditions and better lives. The Domestic Workers Convention sets the first global standards for the estimated 50 to 100 million domestic workers worldwide, the vast majority of whom are women and girls.

The Philippines has approximately two million domestic workers at home and millions more abroad.

The Domestic Workers Convention includes specific provisions to protect migrant domestic workers, including detailed requirements to regulate private employment agencies, investigate complaints, and prohibit the practice of deducting from domestic workers’ salaries to pay recruitment fees.

The convention also requires that migrant domestic workers receive a written contract that is enforceable in the country of employment and requires governments to strengthen international cooperation to protect domestic workers.

A draft bill, the Philippines’ Domestic Workers Act (“Kasambahay” bill), would raise the minimum wage for Filipino domestic workers, require a written contract, extend social security, and improve protection from violence and abuse.

The draft legislation, originally filed in the mid-1990s, has been designated as “urgent” by President Aquino and was adopted by the Senate in 2010. The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the measure in the coming days.

Human Rights Watch has investigated conditions for domestic workers in over 20 countries around the world, documenting routine exclusions from national labor law, exploitation, and labor and criminal abuses. Domestic workers who are children – nearly 30 percent of the total – and migrants are often the most vulnerable to abuse and exploitation, Human Rights Watch said.

Source: Human Rights Watch

07 Aug 2012   10:24:20 AM   Tuesday
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