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Domestic Work in India

Domestic Workers in India: Domestic Workers (Registration, Social Security and Welfare) Act, 2008 was introduced to regulate payment and working conditions and check exploitation and trafficking of women and other young household workers.

What does the Indian law say about domestic workers and their rights?

Domestic Workers (Registration, Social Security and Welfare) Act, 2008 was introduced to regulate payment and working conditions and check exploitation and trafficking of women and other young household workers. Domestic workers are in the unorganized sector and unorganized, hence there are practical difficulties to cover them. Though applicable to both men and women, it assumes significance for women due to their presence in large numbers in the occupation. (Act is subjected to State legislation and therefore the State governs its implementation. However, Central notification date is still pending)

Applicability of the Act:

  1. This Act is applicable to whole of India except state of Jammu and Kashmir.
  2. It does not apply to such domestic workers who have immigrated for employment to any other country.
  3. Employment of child is prohibited under any law for the time being in force as a domestic worker or for any such incidental or ancillary work.
  4. Implementing Authority under the Act will be Central Advisory Committee, State Advisory Committee and District Board.

Registration as Beneficiary
The Act provides that every domestic worker who has completed 18 years of age, but has not completed 60 years of age, and is engaged in any domestic work for not less than 90 days in the preceding 12 months, can be registered as a domestic worker. (Section 16)

Hours of Work and Annual Leave with Wages
Any domestic worker (male or female) registered under the Act who lives in the premises where workplace is situated is entitled to daily rest period of at least 10 consecutive hours between ending and recommencing work. Also the domestic workers living in the house are entitled to annual leave with wages for at least 15 days. (Section 22)

Minimum Wages
All registered domestic workers should be paid minimum wages as per the Minimum Wages Act, 1948. (Section 22)

Safety & Penalty Provisions
The Act specifically makes provisions for penalty in cases where any person knowingly sends, directs or takes any girl or woman domestic worker to any place for immoral purposes or to a place where she is likely to be morally corrupted or in any manner sexually exploited. Such a person shall be subjected to imprisonment for a minimum period of 6 months which may extend upto 7 years and fine up to Rs. 50000 or both. (Section 23)

Offences and penalty:

  1. Any service provider who contravenes the provision of the Act shall be punishable with imprisonment of term which may extend to 3 months and with fine which may extend to rupees two thousand, or with both. In case of continuation of contravention additional fine which may extend to rupees one hundred for every day shall be imposed.
  2. If an employer fails to comply with the provisions of the Act they shall be punished with fine which may extend to rupees two thousand.
  3. If any person who willingly obstructs any officer who is authorized by the District Board to conduct inspection or refuses to cooperate in inspection shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3 months and with fine which may extend to rupees two thousand, or both.
  4. If any person knowingly sends or directs of takes any girl or woman to any place for immoral purposes or where she is likely to be morally corrupted, or sexually exploits such woman of child shall be punished with imprisonment for not less than 3 years and which may extend upto 7 years and fine upto rupees two thousand or both.

How much do domestic workers earn?

States like Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Jharkhand have included domestic worker in the Scheduled Employment. The hourly/daily/monthly rates of wages fixed for domestic workers by these States are as under:

Sr. No.

States/Union Territories

Minimum Wage (in Rs.)

 

Per hour

Per day

Per month

Effective date

1

Andhra Pradesh

12.5

107

2800

10.12.2007

2

Bihar

17

132

01.10.2011

3

Karnataka

149.89

01.04.2011

4

Rajasthan

504

01.01.2011

5

Jharkhand

16

145.54

-

01.04.2012

Are domestic workers eligible for pension, paid leaves and maternity benefits?
With the passing of the domestic workers (Registration, social security and welfare) Act 2008 every registered domestic Worker is now slated to receive pension, maternity benefits and paid leave that is a paid weekly off.

According to section 22 of Domestic Workers (Registration Social Security and Welfare) Act, 2008, a domestic worker living in the house is entitled to annual leave with wages for at least 15 days during the year.

Are there any law protecting domestic workers against sexual harassment?
Section 23 of the Domestic Workers (Registration Social Security and Welfare) Act, 2008 mentions that any person who sexually harasses domestic worker or child will be punishable with imprisonment for not less than six months and which may extend upto period of 7 years or with a fine of Rs. 50000, or both.

Where can the domestic worker complain if there is under payment or an other problem?
District Board shall be constituted by Central Government or State Government, which will review and monitor proper implementation of Domestic Workers (Registration Social Security and Welfare) Act, 2008 in each districts. Board will function for the settlement of disputes through conciliation and procedure mentioned under the Act. In case of any offences made domestic worker can approach District Board for its compliance.

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