Mr. Kofi Asamoah, Secretary General of the Trades Union Congress, has said that domestic workers have rights that need to be respected, just like every other worker.
“These workers typically have no holidays, work for unspecified periods of time, lack adequate protection and thus often end up being abused.”
Mr. Asamoah was speaking at an Advocacy Seminar on the International Labor Organization(ILO) Convention 189, which concerns decent work and conditions of service for domestic workers, which was held in Accra on Monday.
He said Ghana played a part towards the adoption of the convention, adding: “Now that Ghana has participated with the ILO to bring about a convention, Ghana has a duty to ratify that convention.”
Mr. Asamoah said if Ghana ratified Convention 189, domestic workers would be well catered for.
He said it was unfortunate that whilst domestic workers sometimes exceeded the stipulated eight-hour daily work schedule recommended by the ILO, they were excluded from typical labour issues such as the minimum wage, SSNIT benefits, as well as the support of trade unions, amongst others.
Mr. Joseph Kingsley Amuah, Head of Industrial Relations and Administration, Ghana Employers Association, said the ILO required that a domestic worker should have a contract to determine their conditions of service.
He said whilst unemployment was being battled globally, many homes were enjoying the services of domestic workers, which sometimes involved these workers, beyond the “normal” eight hour working period for most workers.
“Globally, we are battling unemployment. If families and individuals are enjoying full labor services from workers in the form of house-helps and others, it is only right that things are streamlined so that these workers pay taxes and also contribute to SSNIT,” he said.
Mr. Amuah said it was unfortunate that “our current labor laws do not have much provision for domestic workers. As far as the labor net covers them, they should enjoy its provisions”.
He said Ghana needed to ensure that the requisite laws and measures were put in place, in order to have the convention ratified.
Mr. Amuah said institutions such as Parliament, the Judiciary, the Ministry of Employment, the Tripartite Committee among others, should all be involved at various levels, in the smooth ratification of the convention.
On June 16, 2011, the International Labor Conference of the ILO, adopted the Convention, concerning decent work for domestic workers, known as the Domestic Workers Convention, 2011(No. 189).
The Convention seeks to promote the rights of domestic workers, with respect to their terms of hours of work, remuneration, occupational safety and health, social security, among other requirements.