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Improving Access to Social Protection for Domestic Workers in South Asia: WIEGO Social Protection Programme

April, 2020

Many domestic workers lack access to basic protections -- either because labour law does not incorporate them, or because there is a lack of enforcement of existing legal provisions. In 2010, the ILO estimated that at least 36.6 percent of domestic workers had no limitation of weekly hours of work, 49.4 per cent had no entitlement to a period of rest per week, 48.5 per cent had no statutory minimum wage or earned a minimum lower than that set for other workers. Furthermore, 40.3 percent of domestic workers had no maternity cash benefits, and 40.6 per cent had no entitlement to maternity leave.
 
The aim of this project for WIEGO and IDWF to empower grassroots organizations of domestic workers to integrate social protection concerns into their organizing and bargaining strategies in the South Asia region (specifically in Bangladesh, India and Nepal). Our experience shows that by i) providing domestic worker organizations with knowledge and information about social protection, and ii) working with them to integrate social protection into their organizing strategies, they will be better able to reach out to new members and to bargain or advocate for the extension or enforcement of social protection mechanisms which can better protect their incomes.
 
To build evidence and help in strengthening the advocacy process, ISST is conducting a qualitative research with IDWF affiliates in 6 states of India: Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu and Kerala; and in Nepal and Bangladesh.