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Introduction and Key Recommendations for an ILO Convention on Domestic Work 

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Submitted by R.E.S.P.E.C.T Network

Campaigning for the Rights of Migrant Domestic Workers in Europe and Internationally

Amsterdam, May 2009

Summary on proposed Key recommendations

In the European context therefore, RESPECT highlights the following key

considerations in preparing the proposed ILO Instruments:


1) The recognition of Domestic work: The recognition of domestic work as

proper work and the inclusion of all domestic workers (women and men,

young or old, national citizen or migrant, live-in or live-out) as an integral part

of the workforce with an immigration status that recognises migrant domestic



2) Comprehensive legal protections: Labour legislation that applies to all other

workers to be applied to the domestic workers and to ensure equal protection

under the law – related to written contracts, agreed wages, hours of work and

rest, health insurance and other social benefits, freedom of mobility and to

form self-organisations and join trade unions, freedom to change employers, as

well as provisions covering the unique circumstance of live-in domestic

workers regarding living conditions and privacy.

3) Effective mechanisms of enforcement of labour legislation: This should

include instruments protection against unjust termination; against the risks of

homelessness of live-in domestic workers; paid holidays and sick leave days.

4) Effective protection for migrant domestic workers: Migrant domestic workers

should have a work permit independent of their employer to ensure avoidance

of abuse and violation of rights regularly experienced in ‘tied’ employment.

Domestic work is not a category for migration in most European countries.

Therefore while migrant workers are on the one hand delivering an enormous

contribution – economically and socially - to needed and important work in


European societies, on the other hand they are vulnerable to exploitation (such

as long hours of work, low payment and to personal abuse by members of the

families) as a consequence of the separation of juridical residence and work



5) Effective protection for Domestic Workers in the employment of the

Diplomatic corps: Domestic workers in the employment of the Diplomatic

corps should be protected by existing and new labour legislation and be able to

access legal redress in the case of unjust or abusive treatment. Specific

mechanisms should be put in place ensuring a judicial process in relation to

diplomats who are responsible for abusing their domestic workers.


6) Effective protection for ‘au pairs’: This is a particularly vulnerable sector of

people who work in the private home. It has been a practice to accept that au

pairs undertake “light household work” as exchange for accommodation while

undertaking a cultural exchange. However there is increasing evidence that

this framework is exploited to access a flexible and cheap source of domestic

workers. The ‘au pair’ framework should therefore be strongly regulated.

7) Provisions to protect domestic workers against physical, sexual and

psychological violence: These provisions include access to immediate and

confidential redress as well as support for and access to legal redress.




Org and contact person

Roles and Responsibility


O.R.C.A. Bv. . - Omar Garcia

Staff of O.R.C.A.

RESPECT Network contact in Brussels.

O.R.C.A bv is an NGO based in Brussels assisting the issues and problems of Migrant Domestic Workers (MDWs) in Brussels. While assisting their problems they also give services like language lessons in French and social activities for their integration in the society. 



-        Lissa Jataas


Responsible in organising and initiator of OBRERAS EMPOWERED-DWCY also coordinates the activity of organisation. Campaigning for your rights as MDWs in Cyprus. Giving services like Greek lessons, legal referrals, fund arising, awareness raising, lobbying, sensitization, organizing events such as forums, seminars, capacity building, organising shelter for MDW'S victims of violence, sharing experiences and knowledge with other groups,  organisation, networks and platforms working on the issues of MDW in Cyprus in  the Europe and internationally.


Filipino Community in Denmark

Jossie & Gina Altamirano

Contact person in Denmark…Aside from giving services to the Filipino community, this organisation is assisting Filipino au pairs in Denmark together with Danish journalist and the FOA trade union.


Babaylan France – Sally Rousset

Coordinates the activities of MDWs in Paris.. organises group discussion on the issues of MDWs in Paris on gender and equality as well as organise activities for MDWs.


Kasapi Hellas – Debbie Valencia Carlos


Coordinates the activity of the work on Migrant women in Athens and the Filipino community. Organise activities for the welfare of MDWs in Athens.. like setting up of micro-credit cooperative, organise social event, Kasapi also set up a school for migrant children of different migrant communities. Recently Kasapi is an fouding member of a multi-migrant women network in Athens named “Melissa”


Verikom/Diakonisches Werk     

Germany – Ms. Monica Orejeda

Staff of Verikom/Diakonisches Werk working migrant department

RESPECT Network Contact in Germany – She is working with migrant women in Hamburg including migrant women working in the private households. Just recently she referred to us a migrant women from Peru who is a victim on labour exploitation. In one the RESPECT Assembly she showed a video footage how a MDW won the case of labour exploitation in Germany.

United Kingdom

Justice for Domestic Workers (J4DW)

Marissa Begoina

Coordinator – coordinates the activities in UK.. J4DW is a MDW self- organisation campaigning for the rights of MDWs in UK. Recently they work hard to abolish the policy allowing modern slavery. J4DW is also campaigning to restore the 1998 Overseas domestic workers visa.

Hungary, Budapest -

Wilatikta Nala -

RESPECT Network contact in Hungary who is now doing activities for Migrant Domestic workers in Hungary. MDWs in Hungary are coming from Eastern Europe who have less rights than other workers.


DWAG – Domestic Workers Action Group – Hilda Ragasi

Coordinator – work with MDWs working in a Diplomat household. Many of their cases won in the legal battle. Recently through their campaign Ireland ratify the ILO C189 Decent work for Domestic workers.


CFMW Italia –

Romulo Salvador

Chairperson of the Board of CFMW Italia – Romulo Salvador is a member of the City council of Rome.

CFMW Italia is a Filipino based organisation. Majority of the membership are working in the private household as MDWs. They organise campaign for the rights of migrants in general, organise a school for Filipino children, social events, many of the Filipinos in Italy are well integrated to the Italian society. They speak the language very well. Migrant community in Rome was instrumental in the ratification of ILO C189 Decent work for domestic workers. RESPECT Network was one of the resource person during their campaign for the Ratification of ILO C189 -


Diversity Group" - Vija Platačiutė;



RESPECT NL – Petra Snelders

Coordinator of the RESPECT NL based in the Netherlands

Coordinate the activities of the RESPECT Network Europe


PreAct - Diana Pohl


RESPECT Network contact in Sweden

PreAct through assist immigrants in Sweden to litigate their case and their rights.  Offer them a legal officer attorney.


Geneva Forum for Philippine Concerns

Joseph Sysip


RESPECT Network contact in Geneva. GFPC is working closely with MDWs. Refer their cases to the trade union SIT as well as they are also a member of Collectief a consortium of Migrant Domestic workers in Geneva.


Centro Filipino  Tuluyan sa San Benito-Paulita  Marina Astillero

Director -

RESPECT Contact in Barcelona Spain

Majority of the Filipinos working in Barcelona are Migrant Domestic Workers. Centro conduct skills training in Barcelona: centre for language studies to integrate well in the society, input on gender and equality, activities organise MDWs, youth into self-organisation,  conduct activities that will equip overseas Filipinos in Spain with the necessary consciousness as well as socio-cultural transformation.