JUSTICE AND LEGISLATION
Working towards justice and legislation for all domestic workers
Domestic work is not recognized as labour and hence they have no rights such as fixed working hours, weekly offs, medical benefits or paid leave. They are not included in any labour law or Bill.
The Acts which do not include domestic workers:
- The Workman’s Compensation Act of 1923
- The Weekly Holiday Act of 1942
- The Maternity Benefit Act of 1961
- The Personal Injury Act of 1963
- Gratuity Act of 1978
- The Industrail Dispute Act-1948
Through active lobbying, advocacy and campaigning the National Domestic Workers’ Movement (NDWM) works towards helping domestic workers attain their rights and demand justice for them as workers.
The Movement organizes awareness programs, advocacy and campaigns, lobbying and consultations for stakeholders and duty bearers which include advocacy with government officials and law enforcement agencies at gram (village), Municipal, state and national levels.
Despite the resistance, the recognition of Domestic Workers’ Rights is growing in State Governments, as well as in Central Governments. Many rights have been established and yet many more are still to be achieved.
Justice & Legislation till date:
- After ten years of advocacy work for the implementation of legislations protecting domestic workers, the National Domestic Workers’ Movement has had an important breakthrough. Advocates Mr. Colin Gonsalves, Ms. Aparna Bhat, Mr. P. Ramesh Kumar, and Mr. Vipin M. Benjamin filed the Public Interest Litigation, National Domestic Workers’ Welfare Trust and Others (Petitioners) versus Union of India (Respondent). This lawsuit seeks to compel the respondent to enact a comprehensive legislation protecting the rights of domestic workers throughout India. On April 10, 2003, the Honorable Justices Mrs. Ruma Pal and Mr. B.N. Srikrishna of the Supreme Court of India have agreed to hear our Public Interest Litigation (PIL).
- The Tamil Nadu Government, State of Tamil Nadu, India, included Domestic Workers in their Unorganized Workers Group. The Tamil Nadu Domestic Workers Welfare Board was constituted on the 22nd January 2007. The notification for the Minimum Wage Act for Domestic Workers was passed in August 2007.
- The Central government amended the Central Civil Service Conduct rules to prohibit any government official/civil servants from employing children below the age of 14 years as domestic workers.
- Indian law prohibits the employment of children below 14 years age, in certain occupations in accordance to the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act 1986. By 10th October 2006, the ban on child labour included employment of children in domestic work.
- Karnataka government passed the Minimum Wage Act for Domestic workers on 1st April 2004
- Notification for Minimum Wage Act for Domestic Workers were passed by the following State Governments: Kerala (23rd May 2005), Andhra Pradesh (24th April 2007) and Rajasthan ( 4th July 2007).
- The Unorganised Sector Workers’ Social Security Bill, 2007 has been passed on 8th January 2008. This Bill also includes domestic workers in the unorganised sector of workers.
- The Governements of Bihar, Jharkand and Orissa have incuded the DWs under Minimum Wage Shedule and fixed Minimum Wage for domestic workers.