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Recognizing domestic workers as workers through skills development and employment contract

ILO News, Indonesia, 26 May 2017 - The ILO through its Promoting Decent Work for Domestic Workers (PROMOTE) Project has been promoting decent work for domestic workers and the elimination of child domestic labour through skills training programme and standardized certification as well as the application of employment contract.

As a follow-up to the implementation of 200 mandatory learning hours under the pilot skills training programme in Malang, East Java, a total of 90 domestic workers participated to take and pass the certification examination. As a result, the participating domestic workers admitted that the certification has improved not only their working skills but also their bargaining position.

“After joining the training, I am more confident. I hope that the training can change the negative perception about domestic workers as people tend to perceive our work as unskilled work, low wages and only for uneducated people,” told Widi Astutik, a participating domestic worker from Singosari.

She added that she was now realized that she could do housekeeping, laundry and cooking in a more professional manner. “My employer is now worried that I will move to other employers,” she added with confidence.

To improve this skills training programme, the ILO’s PROMOTE project conducted a one-day workshop on the programme evaluation and assessment in Jakarta in March 2017. The workshop was also aimed to share the results of the pilot skills training programme and identify actions to be taken to continue building domestic workers’ skills in the country.

During the workshop, relevant stakeholders supported the implementation of the skills training programme. They came to an agreement that skills development and professional recognition of domestic workers play an important role in promoting decent work for domestic workers. Skills training could also help raise the status of domestic worker as recognized profession.

The workshop concluded with some recommendations for improvements. Some recommendations included efforts to develop a government regulation which requires the provision of skills training for domestic workers that will be implemented inside the country; to implement DW skills trainings in sending areas of domestic workers; to undertake Training Needs Assessments among employers of domestic workers to understand and meet the demand in terms of skills; and to implement the Community based model of DW skill training through the Community Learning Centers under the Ministry of Education.

In addition to skills training programme, the ILO’s Promoting Decent Work for Domestic Workers (PROMOTE) Project has continued to promote the importance of employment contract for domestic workers. A one-day workshop on improving working conditions of domestic workers through employment contract was conducted in April 2017.

Aimed to provide a forum for a discussion among relevant stakeholders on how standard contracts for domestic workers, the workshop was attended by around 50 relevant stakeholders of the Project.

The ILO’s Senior Gender, Equality and Discrimination Specialist, Joni Simpson, presented and discussed the sample of an employment contract used in Thailand. This standard contract covers key labour standards such as household information, job description, working hours, wages, holidays and leave, living and working environment, social protection, dispute resolution and termination of contract.

“The Standard Contracts provide clear guidance to employers and minimal standards that government can provide in ensuring better protection and recognition for domestic workers. They also help domestic workers to understand their rights as workers,” said Joni.

During the discussion sessions, the participants concluded that the Standard Contract will help improve the working condition of domestic workers who currently have not been sufficiently protected by the Law. They also urged the government to start recognizing the importance of employment contract for domestic workers as a concrete and practical means to providing better working conditions to domestic workers.

“The Government of Indonesia has strongly recognized the rights of Indonesian migrant domestic workers to have working contracts. The government has pushed and urged the destination countries to issue working contracts for Indonesian migrant workers. Therefore, they should also recognize the rights of in-country domestic workers,” said Lita Anggraini, Executive Director of JALA PRT, a NGO deals with rights of domestic workers.

The promotion of the skills training programme and employment contract is part of the ILO’s programme to recognize the rights of domestic workers as workers. Funded by the United States Department of Labour (USDOL), PROMOTE Project aims at promoting decent work for domestic workers and reducing child domestic workers significantly. The project works closely with national stakeholders and partners to promote Decent Work for Domestic Workers effectively.


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