Thursday, 28 July 2011

Dorms for Indonesian migrant domestic workers?

Indonesia reviews policy on domestic workers
By Sujadi Siswo | Posted: 21 July 2011

The Indonesian government is currently reviewing its policy on domestic workers overseas, a sector that brings in more than US$6 billion. It's looking to prevent them from living with their employers, instead housing them in dormitories.

An inter-ministerial team is working on the initiate aimed at protecting Indonesian domestic workers from potential abuse. More than three million Indonesian women work and live in foreign homes although there are more, if undocumented ones are taken into account.

Cases of them being abused have prompted the Indonesian government to consider prohibiting them from living with their employers. Jumhur Hidayat, head of Indonesia's National Migrant Workers Placement and Protection Agency, said: "We call it a live-out system.

"The sectors we are looking at are nannies, care-givers and domestic workers. They will work like those in the formal sector. This means they do not work for 24 hours under the same roof."


Thursday, 21 July 2011

Abuse of Cambodian Domestic Workers Before and After Migration

From Recruiters Round Up Cambodians to Work in Malaysia By Amy Lieberman, WeNews, Monday, July 18, 2011

Cambodian women who go abroad to Malaysia to work as domestic workers find the work fraught with abuse. Much of the mistreatment starts right away, in recruitment pre-departure training centers in Phnom Penh.

(WOMENSENEWS)--Cambodian recruitment agencies for domestic migrant workers backtracked on a decision announced in May and said at the end of June they would no longer send domestic workers to Kuwait, following complaints of lack of legal and human rights protection for migrant workers.

But that policy doesn't extend east to Malaysia, which drew more than 16,000 Cambodian domestic workers – almost all of them female – in 2010.

Many workers come home complaining about pay that is withheld for at least four to seven months; work shifts that are unspecified and long; food shortages; and physical and verbal abuse, according to local human rights and labor rights organizations in Phnom Penh, the country's capital.

Read More from Women's eNews

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Trial inspections for household with domestic workers

Article from: 'Inspections find abuses of domestic workers' The Irish Times - July 6, 2011 (Jamie Smyth, Social Affairs Correspondent)

SEVERAL DOMESTIC workers have managed to secure proper working conditions following the first inspections of private homes carried out by a State watchdog [in Ireland].

The National Employment Rights Authority, set up to monitor and secure compliance with employment law, has undertaken 20 inspections of private homes this year in a pilot scheme. The inspections were carried out following concerns expressed by NGOs that some domestic workers such as childminders, cleaners and housekeepers are working in “slave-like” conditions.

One case detected by inspectors involved a Filipina, who was working seven days a week and up to 80 hours per week as a care worker for an older person. The woman, who did not receive regular payslips or a work contract, did not feel she could report the case to the authorities for fear of losing her job. But the inspection means she is now working 40 hours a week and has a contract, according to the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland, which became aware of the case.

In a second case, a Filipina childminder, who was living in the employer’s home, managed to change the length of time she was expected to be “on call” following an inspection by the authority. Ger Deering, director of the authority, said inspectors came across several cases where workers had no payslips, no written terms and conditions, and no clarity on working hours.

He said they did not detect any cases of physical abuse but stressed this did not mean these cases did not exist. He said the pilot scheme would probably be extended as part of the authority’s normal system of inspections and encouraged the public to give anonymous tip-offs if they had concerns about abuse.

Unlike standard workplace inspections, authority inspectors cannot enter a person’s home, which in the case of domestic workers is often the employees’ home as well as their workplace, without the consent of the owner.

But they have the right to interview an employer and employee at a location outside the home and to demand access to documentation.

In 17 of the cases inspectors were granted access to the private home and in three cases they were allowed to inspect documentation outside the home. In all cases they could talk to the employees.

The results of the pilot inspection regime were released yesterday as the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights published a report showing undocumented migrants in domestic jobs are “very vulnerable” to exploitation and abuse. The study, which analysed the situation for domestic workers in 10 EU states, uncovered specific evidence of migrant domestic workers in Ireland suffering ill-treatment from their employers.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Domestic Workers Convention "a tool and a weapon"

“It is an added instrument, a tool and a weapon. But it is not the answer to migrant workers’ problems.” – United Filipinos in Hongkong

When the International Labor Organization passed its landmark treaty for the protection of domestic household workers, the Philippine government hailed it as a “great victory.” But for progressive groups advocating for the rights and welfare of Filipino domestic helpers abroad, the struggle has a long way to go.

“The resolution, if ratified, would respond to a lot of issues that migrant domestic workers are confronting,” Eman Villanueva, secretary general of United Filipinos in Hongkong, said, “But in the end, the key in addressing their concerns still lies on the strength of the migrant workers’ movement.”

Labor Undersecretary Danilo Cruz said earlier in an Inquirer report that the ILO treaty would provide a “mantle of protection” for Filipino domestic helpers, where, in Hongkong alone, Villanueva said, there are about 138,000.

“No one can deny that the (ILO treaty) is significant and timely. In fact, it is already long overdue,” Villanueva said, “The content is for the protection of domestic helpers, particularly migrant workers because they are more vulnerable to abuses since they are in a foreign land.”

Yet, with about 300 Filipino organizations in Hongkong, where 80 to 100 are affiliated with progressive groups like Unifil, the struggle of domestic helpers persists.

Read more at: Migrant group to use ILO treaty to empower domestic helpers, Published on July 7, 2011 By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO

High hopes for a new migrant domestic worker training center

An independent training center for migrant domestic workers has just opened in Lebanon. The difference with this center is not only is it in a destination country and unconnected to a recruitment or employment agency, but it seems to a better approach to training. Not only will the women learn how to clean and use household equipment, but also about safety and their rights.

"which permit them one day of rest each week and restrict working hours to 10 hours a day, while following up all course attendees for three months to ensure they are doing well in their new post."

The center will also will provide translators and booklets made by civil society group Caritas, which act as a multilingual household manual for domestic helpers. The best initiative of the center is also that the team hired to train incoming workers will also consist of former domestic helpers who not only speak the same language as, but have also encountered the same challenges as the new recruits.

“I’m very excited to help the new girls and to teach them about all the different things they will have to do,” said Tala, an Ethiopian maid working in Lebanon for four years who will administer the training.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Tell MOM domestic workers deserve a day off!

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in Singapore is currently reviewing the call for the government to implement a weekly day off for domestic workers with compensation in—lieu. Members of the public can email their views and suggestions to

This is your chance to tell MOM that domestic workers have the right to a weekly day off, a right recently included in the new ILO Convention and Recommendation Concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers!

For more information see: MOM reviewing call for weekly rest day for maids (21 Jun 2011)