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Government to introduce law protecting domestic workers

E. T. Mensah

The Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare has formed a task force to develop a National Policy Framework on Decent Work for Domestic Workers to protect the rights of people employed to work in people’s homes.

“As a government that believes in social democracy, Social Protection for working people is a core focus for us. We will therefore continue to pursue a national development agenda that prioritizes the realization of citizens’ rights and entitlements and which enhances our democratic development,” said Mr E.T. Mensah, Minister of Employment and Social Welfare on Wednesday.

He was opening a two-day Africa Regional workshop on “Domestic care workers at the interface of migration: Action to expand good practice,” in Accra.

It was organized by the government of Ghana, in partnership with the Global forum on Migration and Development, Swiss Chair-in Office, UN women, African Diaspora Policy Network and Migration Policy and Advocacy Network.

Mr Mensah said Ghana recognized labour migration as a socio-economic reality and that the movement of people from areas of low economic activity to more economic active areas in search of employment has been an age-old practice.

He said Ghanaians are present in almost every region of the world, working in various capacities as domestic workers, adding that the government expected that they would be accorded respect, dignity and protection from the jurisdiction in which they reside.

“Ghana receives fair share of both legal and illegal migrants from the African region and beyond who are working in various capacities in our country as domestic workers.  We have a responsibility to ensure that we do to them as we would have others do to our nationals working as domestic workers in other jurisdictions, even as illegal immigrants,” Mr Mensah said.

He recalled that at the 100th session of the ILO Conference in June, convention 189 and Recommendation 201 concerning domestic workers were adopted.  The new instruments provide for fair terms of employment for domestic workers including effective protection against all forms of abuse and harassment.

Dr Mary Chinery-Hesse, a retired public servant, painted a bleak picture for domestic workers and said they work long hours, earn low wages, have no rest days and are exposed to physical and sexual harassment.

She said domestic workers contribute a lot to the economic structure of society but “they are vulnerable and need to be protected.”

Source: GNA

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