Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

News 28/06/2021

European alliance calls on EU governments to implement convention on domestic workers

In Europe, about 9.5 million people work as domestic workers, including millions of home care workers. The European Commission and an alliance of employers, trade unions, civil society organisations as well as international institutions call on EU governments to better protect them by ratifying and implementing the ILO Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No.189).

Cleaning service team with gloves and cleaning utensils design

On the 10th Anniversary of the ILO Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No.189), the EU-wide 'ILO C189' Alliance urges the governments of EU countries to adopt the agreed measures into national laws.

Only 8 EU Member States have thus far ratified Convention 189 which was adopted by governments at the International Labour Organization. 

Currently, a number of national laws exclude domestic workers from minimum employment standards. Governments should also strenghten workers’ freedom of association and collective bargaining rights.

Ratifying and implementing the Convention requires that countries ensure domestic workers have the same rights and freedoms as other workers.

European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit,  said: “Now is the time to live up to the hopes raised with the adoption of the ILO Domestic Workers Convention ten years ago and move forward with its ratification and implementation. I call on renewed efforts to lift domestic work out of invisibility and unacceptable conditions into recognised, fair and decent work.

9.5 million domestic workers in Europe

Of the approximately 9.5 million domestic workers in the 27 EU member states, 90% are women.

Among them, 6.3 million are declared and at least 3.1 million are working undeclared.

Migrants carry out a significant proportion of domestic work. In 2013, the ILO estimated that 54.6% of domestic workers in Northern, Southern and Western Europe were migrant workers, a majority of whom are migrant women.

About the ILO C189 Alliance

The ILO C189 Alliance is a group of European stakeholders implicated directly and indirectly in the domestic work sector. Partners of the ILO C189 Alliance share the views that the 10th Anniversary of ILO Decent Work for Domestic Workers marks an important milestone to take stock of the progress made and the remaining issues.

Partner organisations include:  EASPD, EFFAT, EFFE, EFSI, UNI Europa, International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF), Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM), and the ILO Office for the European Union and the Benelux countries.

As part of its efforts the ILO C189 Alliance is holding a two-day conference on 28-29 June 2021 to discuss best practices and policies from the sector.

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