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Domestic Workers In Pakistan

By Aqsa Yaqoob

Domestic workers are the people whose worksides are private homes. Domestic work is defined according to the workplace, which is the private household. Domestic work might be one of the biggest source of employment for informal economy. As women, men, girls and boys move from village to town in search of employment, and with little skills and education, they cannot find job except domestic worker. They work as domestic worker because those people have not resources to fulfill basic necessities of their family. Thare are at least 8.5 million domestic worker’s in Pakistan, many of whom are women and often children .According to the survey every fourth household in the country hires a domestic worker .

Common types of domestic workers ;

There are two common types of domestic workers. First one is “child domestic labour”, basically child domestic labour means when a child (under the age of 14 years) is employed to perform a work in household. And second one is” Bonded /Force labour” . In a country most of the children work as a domestic worker because their parents or other family members get money from the employer. So these children or women are working to pay off debt. According to the survey of labour force (2014-15) there are 0.464 million domestic worker in Pakistan.

Rights of domestic workers in Pakistan;

Punjab Domestic Worker Act 2019 identified the various rights and entitlement of domestic workers. Following are the rights of domestic workers.

•The law banned the use of word “servant” for a domestic worker.
•The law forbids the engagement of a domestic worker in a labour system or forced or partly forced system.
• The law also proscribes discrimination against domestic worker in the basis of religion race, caste ,creed, sex,ethnic background, birthplace and any other reason.
•According to the act 2019 employer gives extra compensation to the domestic worker if the employer wants extra work .
•The employer gives guarantee about the occupational safety and health measures.
•The worker should be provided with identified working conditions.
•According to the Punjab social security ordinance 1965 domestic worker are provided with sickness and medical care, accident compensation or disability payments.
•Domestic have right to a weekly rest day.

•The Punjab domestic worker act also setting domestice worker’s wages. The domestic worker’s wage is not less than the minimum wage specified by the government. The law also prohibits discrimination in wages for work equal value on the ground of gender.
•The employer provided the accommodation of live- in domestic worker.

Issues faced by domestic worker in Pakistan and worldwide;

In Pakistan and all over the world domestic worker have victim of domestic violence .The domestic worker face many issues during working hours. The employer exploited the children who work in their houses. They do no provide the sufficient food. The employer not provided the accommodation to the domestic worker. The social economic class is also a factor ,poor are often considered the lesser human being in the country. Following are issues faced by domestic workers.
•Long and unlimited hours of work
•Heavy workload
•Violence and abuse at work , either physical , psychological or sexual.
•Forced labour
•No minimum wage protection and low salaries.
•Poor living Quarters.
•Insufficient Food .

Effects of coronavirus on domestic workers;

The coronavirus pandemic situation also effect the domestic worker employment. As the government imposes lockdown the domestic or household worker are unable to go for their work. They have to face to much difficulty to continue their jobs. According to the new data from National Domestic Worker Alliance (NDWA) ,just over half (52%) of domestic worker surveyed said they had no jab for the week beginning March 30 and that shared increased to (68%) by the next week.About 66% domestic worker unsure that either the employer gives the job back after pandemic. The decline in employment of domestic workers represent a significant loss of income for these workers and their families.

The writet is a student of M.Sc Communication Studies Digital Media at Institute of Communication Studies,University of the Punjab,Lahore,Pakistan.

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