The next time your domestic help demands a weekly off and a bonus, you may well have to abide by the law and oblige.
A draft bill on employee rights of domestic help has been ratified by the Law and Judiciary Departments, and is now with Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, leaving it just one step away from becoming a law.
Prepared by the state Labour Department, the bill encompasses 31 types of chores that will be recognised as household work.
“We have completed our bit and now the CM and the state Cabinet need to approve it,” said state Labour Commissioner BD Sanap.
In 2003, the state government had proposed a scheme for the welfare of domestic help and the protection of their rights as employees, but the latter was not satisfied with its provisions.
“The main weakness of the scheme was that it did not offer any legal provisions under which we could seek redress. The Bill, on the other hand, will include legalities and will be much stronger as far as implementation is concerned. The legalities have already been ratified by the Law Department,” Sanap said.
The Bill recognises household work as ‘labour’, placing the employees under the purview of Labour Laws. Both full-time and part-time domestic help will be covered under the Act, claimed Sanap.
The list of privileges for housemaids would include a day off per week, 10 days of leave per year — and a provident fund.
All the domestic help needs to do is register with the Labour Department. “The department will have a copy of the agreement and the PF will be submitted to us,” said Sanap.
The draft was presented to Chief Secretary D. K. Shankaran last week, who has forwarded it to the CM.
“This is a serious attempt to regularise this expanding, unorganised sector,” Sanap said. “The initiative will also help the police. Since all the records of each domestic help will be with the department, crime can be tracked more efficiently.”
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