CHASING SHADOWS

FUTURE OF DOMESTIC WORKERS IN INDIA

  • Bhavya Yadav
  • Avni Agarwal
Keywords: Domestic Workers, Wages, Women Workers, Technology, Domestic Workers Union

Abstract

The International Labor Organization has described the term ‘Domestic Workers’ as a significant part of the global workforce in informal employment who are among the most vulnerable groups of workers. They work for private households, often without clear terms of employment, unregistered in any book, and excluded from the scope of labor legislation. Moreover, in the last few decades, growing participation of women in office jobs has boosted the income level of India’s middle class. As a result, the present generation is witnessing more and more working parents due to which there is now less capacity for care at home and an unprecedented need for domestic services and support. Thus between the displacement of work in existing sectors of the economy by automation and artificial intelligence, and the increase in the need for home-based care and services, the need for domestic workers has also increased and it is anticipated that care jobs could take over as the single largest occupation in the Indian economy by 2030. However, whereon the one hand this unorganized sector forms an important part of the Indian households, it is still not considered under the purview of labor laws in the country. In addition to this, implementation of minimum wage requirements, health or insurance benefits and other labor laws such as job security remains a challenge. Physical and sexual abuse against domestic workers is often reported in the media. Various studies and reports have also revealed that domestic workers are subjected to discrimination on grounds of religion, caste and ethnicity. Often, these challenges are placed in a law and order framework instead of a labor rights framework. Regulating domestic work through legislation is the only way to address abuses against domestic workers becausethe domestic workers being part of the unorganized sector are not safeguarded by any law. Thus, this research paper poses valid questions about the lives of women who are compelled to enter the labor market as paid domestic workers. It also offers a critical analysis of the functioning of domestic workers’ unions and examines the role of various agencies in securing the benefits entitled to domestic workers. The research paper shall also make use of the survey method so as to document the sorrows, joys, experiences, women bonding, spirit of collectiveness and capabilities of women as organizers/ group leaders/union leaders in this largely unorganized sector.
Finally, this research paper will trace how technology can uplift the situation of domestic workers in India and draw inspiration on laws emphasizing on domestic workers from global perspective. The paper will identify the causes for the outwardly behavior by the society towards domestic workers and how the same can be regulated. Further the paper will work on recommendations so as to come up with working solutions which in turn will ensure a better future for the labor market in India. The paper is also an attempt to discuss the issue in the international platform by comparing the situation of domestic workers in India with that of other countries around the globe. The judicial insight through case laws on the topic will also be discussed.

Published
2020-02-28
How to Cite
Yadav, B., & Agarwal, A. (2020). CHASING SHADOWS. Nirma University Law Journal, 9(1), 16. https://doi.org/10.1234/nulj.v9i1.225
Section
Articles