Sonia`s NAC for weekly offs, annual leave for domestic workers

The NAC has reportedly recommended at least 15 days of paid annual leave and a minimum per diem wage of Rs 115 for the 45 lakh domestic workers across the country.

New Delhi: NAC Chairperson Sonia Gandhi has
written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh suggesting that the
proposed national policy for domestic workers should ensure
a daily minimum wage without sex discrimination, weekly offs
and paid annual leave.

The National Advisory Council(NAC) had made the
recommendation on the domestic workers policy at its meeting
on April 28 after which Gandhi followed it up with a letter to
the Prime Minister, sources said today. The PMO has since
written to the Labour Ministry to examine the suggestions.

The NAC has reportedly recommended at least 15 days of
paid annual leave and a minimum per diem wage of Rs 115 for
the 45 lakh domestic workers across the country.

"The letter had come to us from the PMO ten days back.
We have adopted a two-pronged strategy. One is welfare of
domestic workers under the various social security schemes and
the other is preparing the guidelines for the policy for
domestic workers," Labour Secretary P Chaturvedi said,
Sources said the Labour Ministry has already sent a
Cabinet note for inclusion of domestic workers under Rashtriya
Swasthya Bima Yojana.

The NAC suggested that the policy should have provisions
to ensure right to regulated conditions of work, including
working within the defined normal hours of work with suitable
daily and weekly rest.

Entitlement to paid annual leave and sick leaves and
coverage under social security as provided in the Unorganised
Sector Social Security Act 200 including maternity benefits
are some other recommendations.

The NAC also advocated that domestic workers should be
recognised and registered as workers with the state labour
departments and have right to establish their own organisation
or join workers` organisations or trade unions or associations
and engage in collective bargaining process.

It said that such workers should also have access to
schemes and benefits which are available or will be made
available to other categories of workers.

The NAC said that under the national policy, steps
should be taken to protect migrant domestic workers, including
the provision of adequate pre-departure training, information,
and written contracts specifying conditions of work, and
complaint mechanisms.
"The National Policy should further outline the steps
that the central and state Governments may take to meet these
requirements, and thereby ensure that domestic workers in
India can enjoy the full measure of rights due to them within
the shortest possible time-frame," the NAC said.

"A number of measures have been initiated to bring the
domestic workers under the social security net," sources in
the Labour Ministry said.

Noting that the Government was engaged in the exercise
of formulating a National Policy for Domestic Workers, the NAC
had made a number of recommendations with regard to `essential
elements` of such a policy.

The NAC in its communication to the government had said
that the policy should affirm the equity of domestic workers
with other wage workers, so that domestic workers are treated
no less favourably.


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