Domestic work is a growing economic sector in most European countries. Demographic changes and longer life expectancy, irregular and increased working hours, lack of adequate care facilities are all factors that impact on the demand for domestic work. Nonetheless domestic workers are often exposed to abuse and underemployment.
A report published today by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency on domestic workers highlights several ETUC concerns. In many European countries domestic work is performed mainly by women, many of them from a migrant or ethnic minority background, often ‘illegal’ or undocumented, working for private households with almost no protection whatsoever. Basic working rights, such a rest periods, paid holidays and paid sick leave are often denied to them, despite legal obligations to the contrary.
“The ILO Convention is a move in the right direction towards improve the working conditions of domestic workers" says Bernadette Ségol ETUC Secretary General. “However Europe has a key role to play in ensuring that this becomes a reality. We urge European countries to swiftly ratify the ILO Convention and provide better conditions for domestic workers, preferably in a collectively agreed protective framework”.
The European trade union will closely follow the ratification process of the ILO Convention. ETUC is currently involved in a Europe-wide project, in partnership with the ILO, entitled “Promoting the integration of migrant workers in Europe”.