April 28, 2010

Key Recommendations to Governments of Labor-Receiving Countries

To Labor Ministries and Parliaments

  • Extend labor protections in national law to domestic workers, including provisions related to a minimum wage, periods of daily and weekly rest, overtime pay, social security, workers’ compensation, health care, and maternity leave. Introduce additional protections to address the specific nature of domestic work, such as intermittent working hours, living accommodations, and provision of food.
  • Strengthen regulation and monitoring of employment agencies and recruitment fees, and impose significant penalties for violations of laws and regulations on domestic workers’ rights.
  • Ensure that domestic workers have the right to freedom of association, the right to form an association or trade union, and to bargain collectively with employers and brokers.

To Ministries of Interior

  • Reform the visa sponsorship system so that workers’ visas are no longer tied to individual employers serving as immigration sponsors. Ensure that workers can change employers without losing legal status and without having to obtain their first employer’s permission, and that they are able to leave the country without being required to first secure the consent of their employer.
  • Facilitate the approval of valid immigration status for workers awaiting the outcome of legal proceedings and allow them to work.

To Foreign Ministries

  • Promote bilateral and multilateral cooperation with labor-sending countries to ensure employment contracts applied in labor-receiving countries are the same ones signed by workers prior to migration, to monitor transnational recruitment (including capping recruitment fees), to resolve outstanding labor disputes and criminal complaints, and to arrange for timely repatriation.
  • Support a binding convention on domestic work with an accompanying recommendation during the International Labor Conference in June 2010.

To Ministries of Justice and Social Affairs

  • Improve access to the criminal justice system, including through confidential complaint mechanisms in the languages spoken by migrant domestic workers and provision of legal assistance.
  • Expand victim services for survivors of abuse, such as shelters, hotlines, access to health care, counseling, and support to civil society and faith-based groups offering these services.
  • Improve identification of cases of trafficking into forced domestic servitude and ensure that victims have access to specific protections and services under national counter-trafficking laws and programs.
  • Take steps to prevent, investigate, and prosecute criminal violence against domestic workers including physical abuse, sexual abuse, forced labor, and trafficking. Establish mechanisms to expedite these processes in cases involving migrants.