Next time your maid demands a weekly off and a bonus, you may well have to oblige. With the draft bill on Domestic Maids ready to be submitted to the chief minister after being ratified by the law and judiciary department, the rights of housemaids are just one step away from being recognised—officially.
Finally, after a series of models and drafts, a Bill has been prepared by the State Labour Department. The bill has a list of 31 types of work which will be recognised as household work carried out by the maids. "We have completed our bit and now the chief minister and the cabinet has to approve of this," said state labour commissioner BD Sanap.
Earlier in 2003, the state government came up with a scheme which did not have any legalities to safeguard the interests of maid servants. "The weakness of the scheme was that it did not have any legal provisions. The Act will include all those and will be much stronger as far as implementation was concerned. The legalities have already been ratified by the law department which is a big leap ahead," Sanap said.
The bill recognises the household work as 'labour' and thus the employees will be protected by labour laws. Both full-time and part time maids will be covered under the Act, when it comes into effect, claimed Sanap.
The list of privileges as a worker would include a weekly off, 10 days of leave in a year and provident fund. To start with, all the household maids need to be registered with the labour department and get into an agreement with the employer. "The department will have a copy of the agreement and the PF will be submitted to us," he said.
The draft was presented to the chief secretary DK Shankaran who has forwarded it to the CM last week. The labour department is keen on the bill as they feel it is the first serious attempt to regularise the sector. The initiative will also help the police, claimed officials. "Since all the records will be with the department, any crime can be tracked more efficiently," claimed a senior department official.
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