Decent Work for Domestic Workers 10 years later: the EU can do more

15 June 2021 is the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the ILO Convention concerning decent work for domestic Workers (ILO C189). This landmark Convention has been the result of a long struggle lead by domestic workers all around the world to be recognised as workers entitled to labour rights and protections equal to all other workers. On June 16th, international domestic workers day, the International Domestic Workers Federation will lead several events to celebrate this anniversary but also to remind the gaps that still remain. 

As for Europe, at today, only 7 EU member states have ratified the Convention out of a total of 31 ratifications.

The ratification and the implementation of the ILO C189 by and within EU Member States (MS) and the adoption of EU legislations covering personal and household services (PHS) workers is urgently needed. Although some legislative improvements, the situation of domestic workers (or PHS workers) in Europe remain very precarious and has been made even more fragile by the COVID 19 pandemic. In time of COVID, PHS workers have been on the frontline and have continued to provide care under the most challenging of circumstances. They deserve decent working conditions and fair pay!

Moreover, improved access to quality PHS requires decent work for workers delivering them.

Decent work for domestic workers is also an essential element for the implementation of the EU Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2024, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable development (namely SDG 5 on gender equality and SDG 8 on decent work) and the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR).

Indeed, the rights recognised by the ILO C189 overlap with the EPSR Principles and Actions such as Education and Training (P1/C189 art. 4); Adequate minimum wages that provide for a decent standard of living (P6/C189 art. 11); Information on employment terms (P7/C189 art. 7); Social dialogue (P8/ C189 art. 3 FOA and CBA); Health and Safety (P10/C189 art. 13); Social Protection for all workers (P12/ C189 art. 14), and others.

SOLIDAR believes that the EU and its Member States should ‘care for the careers' starting by ratifying the ILO C189 and adopt legislations that recognise PHS workers’ rights at the same level of all other workers.

SOLIDAR Members are already active at National and International level to promote legislations and support domestic workers in Europe and all around the world.

SOLIDAR will keep giving visibility to the Domestic Workers' struggle for decent work!

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