A Household Worker’s Dirty Little Secret

International Labor Conference report highlights lack of protections for 56.2 million domestic workers world wide

More than 56.2 million men and women (80 per cent is women) throughout the world were employed as household workers in 2010, according to a report released recently by the International Labour Conference (ILC).  The report titled “Domestic Workers Across the World: Global and regional statistics and the extent of legal protection” sheds light on the “magnitude of domestic work, a sector often ‘invisible’ behind the doors of private households and unprotected by national legislation.”

The following is a statement from Xiomara Corpeño, Director of Organizing for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), a regional immigrant and human rights organization with national impact based in Los Angeles.  CHIRLA’s Household Worker program advocates for fair working conditions for the estimated 2 million household workers in California.

“Although household workers are often the most trusted members of a household next to Mom and Dad, at present, these key engines of stability and support are the most vulnerable, underpaid, and exploited of our society.

The research carried out by the ILC supports a deeply held concern of ours that an astounding number of household workers in the U.S. are excluded from very basic accommodations afforded to any other worker, such as rest periods, overtime pay, or maternity protection.  It is a travesty and a moral and ethical discomfiture that less than ten per cent of all household workers in the world (or 5.3 million) are protected by national labor laws.

While other nations move forward with incremental protections for household workers, we seek no less from our nation’s leaders.  California has a golden opportunity this year to show the rest of the world that all work, especially in industries with strong women and immigrant presence, is valued and compensated fairly.  The California Domestic Worker Bill of Rights is a step in the right direction for California and right approach to begin protecting and compensating the invaluable work performed by household workers.”

The report in English and Spanish can be found at this link: http://www.ilo.org/global/publications/books/WCMS_200962/lang–en/index.htm



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