Kerala govt to bring law for welfare of domestic workers in the state

Describing domestic workers as an indispensable part of the daily life of a large section of India's urban population, the Kerala government on Friday said it would bring a new law to ensure the welfare of house-helps in the state.
Kerala State General Education Minister V Sivankutty
Kerala State General Education Minister V Sivankutty

Thiruvananthapuram | Describing domestic workers as an indispensable part of the daily life of a large section of India's urban population, the Kerala government on Friday said it would bring a new law to ensure the welfare of house-helps in the state.

The announcement was made by state General Education and Labour Minister V Sivankutty at a meeting of various stakeholders discussing the draft of a bill for the welfare of domestic workers, a statement issued by his office said.

Presently, there is no national policy to protect and recognise this category of workers, and Kerala is the first state in India that intends to bring a legislation to protect their rights, the statement said.

It said that domestic workers face many problems, the biggest of them being the lack of safe working environments. The other problems they face include low wages, lack of social security as well as physical and mental abuse, it said.

"Protecting the employment of such workers is the most important duty of a government in a democratic society. Therefore, the government sees it as the need of the modern times to create necessary legislation to ensure the legal rights of domestic workers.

"The LDF government in Kerala intends to introduce a law for the first time in India to ensure minimum wages, fixed working hours, safe working environment and health security for domestic workers," the minister said in the statement.

He said that the draft bill provides for protection of domestic workers from deprivation of their rights, harassment, assault and economic exploitation, apart from ensuring the regularisation of their wages.

It also covers the domestic workers' contracts with their employers and placement agencies, their rights, employer's duties, responsibility for payment of wages, working hours, holiday benefits, crimes and fines, among others, the statement said.

The bill also has provisions to deal strictly with the violation of the rights of domestic workers, it said.

"The government intends to recognise domestic workers by protecting their privacy in workplaces and maintaining the dignity of work by giving due respect to labour rights," the statement added.

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