90 percent of domestic workers lack any kind of social security coverage

Domestic workers are excluded from social security systems mainly because the lack of legal recognition of their work, discriminatory social practices and socio-cultural elements that engender a low social value for this type of work.

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO) latest policy paper, domestic workers are a "difficult-to-cover" group, out of 67 million workers worldwide only 7 have social security. 163 countries were included in this study.

"Domestic work is defined as work performed in a private household in the framework of a work relationship through which the employed person receives remuneration."  It has been known for poor working conditions, low wages, long hours, little o no social protection and even forced labour.  

Domestic workers earn typically less than half the average market wage. Working hours are among the longest, especially in developing countries. Bolivian domestic workers work an average of 47.2 hours per week and Brazil 36.8 hours.

Some reasons for this condition are the absence of an employment contract, lack of legal recognition of domestic work as an occupation, discriminatory legal and social practices and other socio-cultural elements which give domestic work a low social value. Nonetheless it is a significant source of employment accounting globally 4% of labour force (6%in Latin America and the Caribbean).

This phenomenon is concentrated in developing countries with Asia and Latin America with 68% of domestic workers worldwide, 41% and 27% respectively. Women on the other hand  represent the majority of workers (80%) meaning about 55 million participate in this activity. This causes conditions of socio-economic discrimination and vulnerability.  In Latin America almost 88% of workers are women.

Another observation estimates that approximately 11.5 million of domestic workers are migrants, which translates in even greater discrimination. 14% countries which provide some sort of social security coverage for domestic workers do not extend this measures and rights to migrant workforce.

ILO's paper expects to raise consciousness about extending social security to domestic work sector and make it an essential element to fight social exclusion and poverty.

LatinAmerican Post |

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