Domestic Workers in India
The domestic worker is defined as a person employed to do the housework or allied activities in any household, thus excluding those involved in cleaning or cooking in offices, shops and other such premises.1 The word domestic in itself refers to the private household and not the commercial places. This definition does not include the category of people working in commercial sector which means domestic workers are not at par with the people working in commercial establishments and are hence not covered under the provisions benefiting them under various labour and industrial laws. This leaves domestic workers with major legislation on their side and they continue to suffer at their respective work places in most of the cases.
The International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Convention provides for a definition of domestic worker in Article 1 of the Convention which defines a domestic worker as “any person engaged in domestic work within an employment relationship”.2 Moreover, domestic work is defined in Article 1(a) as work done in or for a household. This definition is very broad and it expands not just those who are involved in daily household chores, but also includes those who do not work within in the household but for the household, such as chauffeurs and security guards.
Indian government chose not to support the ILO convention which means that definition is not applicable to India and rather the government has come up with a Domestic Workers Welfare and Social Security Bill, 2010 where Section 2(f) of the said Bill defines a domestic worker as “a person who is employed for remuneration whether in cash or kind , in any house hold ‘or similar Establishments’ through any agency or directly, either on a temporary or contract basis or permanent, part time or full time to do the household or allied work.”3
Indian and ILO’s