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Give weekly offs, annual leave to domestic workers: Sonia

Last updated on: May 19, 2011 18:21 IST

Give weekly offs, annual leave to domestic workers: Sonia

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NAC Chairperson Sonia Gandhi has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh suggesting that the proposed national policy for domestic workers should ensure a daily minimum wage without sex discrimination, weekly offs and paid annual leave.

The National Advisory Council (NAC) had made the recommendation on the domestic workers policy at its meeting on April 28 after which Gandhi followed it up with a letter to the Prime Minister, sources said.

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The PMO has since written to the Labour Ministry to examine the suggestions.

The NAC has reportedly recommended at least 15 days of paid annual leave and a minimum per diem wage of Rs 115 for the 45 lakh domestic workers across the country.

"The letter had come to us from the PMO ten days back. We have adopted a two-pronged strategy. One is welfare of domestic workers under the various social security schemes and the other is preparing the guidelines for the policy for domestic workers," Labour Secretary P Chaturvedi said.

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Sources said the Labour Ministry has already sent a Cabinet note for inclusion of domestic workers under Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana.

The NAC suggested that the policy should have provisions to ensure right to regulated conditions of work, including working within the defined normal hours of work with suitable daily and weekly rest.

Entitlement to paid annual leave and sick leaves and coverage under social security as provided in the Unorganised Sector Social Security Act 200 including maternity benefits are some other recommendations.

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The NAC also advocated that domestic workers should be recognised and registered as workers with the state labour departments and have right to establish their own organisation or join workers' organisations or trade unions or associations and engage in collective bargaining process.

It said that such workers should also have access to schemes and benefits which are available or will be made available to other categories of workers.

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The NAC said that under the national policy, steps should be taken to protect migrant domestic workers, including the provision of adequate pre-departure training, information, and written contracts specifying conditions of work, and complaint mechanisms.

"The National Policy should further outline the steps that the central and state governments may take to meet these requirements, and thereby ensure that domestic workers in India can enjoy the full measure of rights due to them within the shortest possible time-frame," the NAC said.

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"A number of measures have been initiated to bring the domestic workers under the social security net," sources in the Labour Ministry said.

Noting that the government was engaged in the exercise of formulating a National Policy for Domestic Workers, the NAC had made a number of recommendations with regard to 'essential elements' of such a policy.

The NAC in its communication to the government had said that the policy should affirm the equity of domestic workers with other wage workers, so that domestic workers are treated no less favourably.


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