Singapore chooses to not protect domestic workers rights

I don’t usually just link to random articles, but this one is near and dear to my heart.  I’m excerpting the article, read it in full here

GENEVA (AFP) – The International Labour Organisation on Thursday passed a landmark treaty giving protection to an estimated 52.6 million domestic workers across the world.

The new convention would ensure domestic workers enjoyed conditions “not less favourable” than other workers, and require governments to ensure they understood their rights, preferably through written contracts.

The document also offers domestic workers a full rest day every week, and prevents them being compelled to remain with an employer’s household during their annual leave or rest days.


ILO data, which is a compilation of national statistics, indicate that there were at least 52.6 million domestic workers worldwide in 2010.

But there are reasons to believe that the true number, concealed by undercounting among some states, could lie close to 100 million, the UN agency added.

Despite the large numbers, domestic workers are still among the most exploited and abused.

Many are required to work irregular and long hours for low pay and are given insufficient rest. Live-in domestic workers in particular, can be on call at all times of the day.

They are also largely excluded from social protection such as maternity benefits and social security.

Nevertheless, joining the convention is only the first step. Countries would not have to implement the treaty until ratification, while others may opt not to sign up, which could reduce its bite.

While it has secured the support of countries ranging from Gulf states to the United States, Indonesia, and Brazil, other governments, such as Britain, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, abstained.



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