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DEBUNKING THE MYTHS: Domestic Worker Book

Domestic Workers Devaluation and DiscriminationWaged domestic work, connecting the economics of home and the economics of workplace, is one of the world’s oldest professions with roots in both slave and feudal economies and is considered to be highly gendered, racialised, classed, personalised and informal service (Romero, 1992). Domestic workers, therefore, constitute an extremely heterogeneous group that generally carries out such tasks as cleaning home, doing laundry, cooking meals, running errands and caring for children and elderly at households. Some domestic workers are employed as “live‐ins” meaning that their residence and workplace are same, while some are employed as “live‐outs” which refer to the workers who work for a specified number of hours a day, but do not reside in their place of employment.

In Bangladesh there is paucity of statistics. There are also problems with definition. A dig into different reports of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) suggests that the number of women earmarked as household aid, comprising irregular paid workers, apprentices, domestic workers and others, has been increasing. In 2003, the total number of women household aid was 424 thousand, whereas in 2006 and 2010, the number increased to 649 thousand and 704 thousand respectively (BBS,

2004, 2008 and 2011). These exclude the children, men and non‐ resident domestic workers. The causes of these increases in household aid can primarily be attributed to three reasons i.e. increased demand for domestic workers due to people’s compulsion to go outside home in search of livelihood, lack of other employment opportunities, and lack of capital for self‐ employment.

Most of the domestic workers migrate from the rural villages to the urban towns and cities within their home country and find work through word‐of‐mouth, while some migrate into neighboring richer countries in search of work and get employed through international agencies (Kaur, 2013). Domestic workers are generally paid wages that are much less than the exchange value of the outcomes of their labour, thereby becoming exploited by their employers. Moreover, they are not provided with health insurance, overtime and sick pay, holiday payments, pay increments, severance pay and not protected from sexual, psychological and physical violence by their employers, yet the workers have little recourse to legal action against their employers. Consequently, the domestic workers historically have remained voiceless, economically devalued and socially discriminated.

1.2 UNDERSTANDING DOMESTIC WORK: UNPACKING FIVE STEREOTYPING

Since the emergence of feminist movement, women’s labour is considered to be reproductive labour by the feminist theorists. It is argued that the reproductive labour of women contributes not only to the regeneration of the labour force but also to the society as a whole (Dalla Costa and James, 1972). The Marxist feminists see domestic work as a primary source of capital accumulation, which paves way for origination of surplus value (Hartmann, 1981). The extraction of surplus value from domestic work does not only rely on the fact that this labour is not only properly
Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 1 2 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

remunerated, but also on the labour force carrying out domestic work because the surplus value accumulated in this labour extracted not only from its reproductive nature, but also from the emotional engagement between the domestic workers and employers, often referred to as the bond of exploitation. Some feminist economists interpret this bond of exploitation as an articulation of “emotional imperialism” (Himmelweit, 1995; Gutierrez‐Rodriguez, 2010).

The creation and extraction of surplus value in domestic work are embedded in the labour involved in maintaining living spaces, buying and transforming the commodities used in the family, supplementary services provided to family members by public and private sectors (i.e. health, education, transport, and administration) and managing social and personal relationship. In addition, there exist inequalities between men and women in the distribution of time, activities, economic resources and social responsibilities as regards unpaid domestic work.

The quantity of unpaid socially reproductive labour and its distribution on the basis of sex and age tend to be slow to change regardless of historical changes in economic contexts, technologies, fertility rates and forms of sexual and generational relationships. The work of reproduction by the domestic workers can, therefore, be contextualised as regards a number of contradictions i.e. demands for modernisation and defense of tradition, recognition of equal opportunities and maintenance of historical hierarchies between men and women, the opportunity to leave home to earn an income and the stability required to maintain everyday life. These contradictions, however, can also be unraveled through taking a perspective of women’s agency into account as regards disclosing real processes, setting priorities and finding a sense in the relationship between man, woman and society. This perspective of women’s agency creates a social space through three fundamental economic institutions (i.e. family,

state and market) and both paid and unpaid domestic work (Picchio, 2003).

In comprehending the concept of domestic work and contextualising the term in relation to family, state and market in Bangladesh, at least a probe into the following five major aspects is essential. This delineation provides new tenets in theorising the states of domestic workers in Bangladesh.

1.2.1 Unseen

Domestic work is considered to be unseen in a way that a domestic worker does not create or distribute any durable goods or consumer products in market rather most of her work is dedicated to cleaning and caring at household which are unseen. At the end of a domestic worker’s work, her cleaning and caring work at a household keep the utensils clean, a child safe and healthy and an elderly parent well fed and attended to. These are not seen in public. Washed clothes, absence of dirt in a kitchen room and clean floor of the apartment are the silent witness to the labouring hands of domestic workers. Work that does not produce value or facilitate its exchange is devalued and left socially invisible in the modern capitalist societies. Nevertheless, the domestic work whether performed by a family member or by an employee subsidises all other productive work in the economy, though remained unseen.

1.2.2 Production, Not Consumption

The mainstream considers that the reproductive labour of domestic workers have no value in market since the outcomes of their labour remain unseen and no products are bought and sold in a market. The labour of domestic workers is rather thought to produce use‐value, not exchange one. Use‐value of goods implies the usefulness of the goods for the people, as opposed to profit. Consequently, labour of the domestic workers is assumed to
Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 3 4 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

beget use‐value, since the outcomes of the labour of domestic workers – food for the family to consume, domestic chores i.e. shopping, laundry and caring for children and elderly members that ensure functioning of family – are used for personal consumption and seen to have no economic value. Under this disguise of considering the reproductive labour of domestic workers to have only use‐value, the commodifiaction of their labour is institutionalised. Commodification of their labour becomes further aggravated in the society when the families pay high daycare fees for sending their children to daycare centre or keep paid cook instead of paying a minimum exchange value to the labour of the domestic workers.

1.2.3 Public Sphere, Not a Private One

Since home and workplaces are one for the domestic workers in most cases and the notion of ‘home’ is deeply infused with the concept of private sphere, domestic work remains beyond governmental regulations while it should be subject to a framework of laws and regulations that set minimum standards of conduct for these work. Unlike the workers in organisations or large‐scale enterprises, the domestic workers cannot capitalise on their collective power to bargain with their employers. The reason for this suppressed circumstance of domestic workers as regards their bargaining power can be ascribed to their isolation from other workers who share similar conditions of labour and witness same pattern of abuse or violation of rights (Burnham and Theodore, 2012). Consequently, domestic workers are confined by a set of informal conditions that militate against the full exercise of their rights, causing them rarely to be treated in accordance with the basic standards of workplace. Instead of being considered dwelling in a private sphere, domestic work has, nevertheless, to be subject to legal and regulatory frameworks by which the employers are to create and sustain safe, non‐abusive and non‐discriminatory work environments

and the workers can adopt legal recourse if the employers fail to provide such environments.

1.2.4 Not Unique, but Employment Relationship

The orthodoxy depicts the relationship between domestic workers and the employers not as a social relation of exploitation rather portrays as an affective labour. The logic goes in the way that s/he gradually becomes intimate with the members of the household, though a domestic worker usually enters a household as an outsider and sometimes as a stranger. The ‘intimacy’ between domestic worker and the employer is, however, to be considered to be an expression as well as impression of inequalities. Such ‘intimacy’ creating an emotional entanglement does not allow for the worker to bargain on their rights with the employer and undermines the already structurally limited ability of the workers to negotiate the terms of employment with the employers (Burnham and Theodore, 2012). In addition, such ‘intimate’ rather than employment relationships between domestic workers and the employers are structured in a way that undercuts the capacity of workers to exercise their rights and cause them to have little cumulative power. There is, therefore, an imperative to situate the relationship between the worker and the employer as an employment one rather than a bond of exploitation. So the domestic work is to be categorised as being located into a public sphere instead of a private one and corresponding legal and regulatory framework as applicable for a labourer to be practised.

1.2.5 Wage Differentiation

The owners of households (owners of the means of production) exploit the domestic workers to beget surplus value. The workers, thus, are paid in return much less than the exchange value of the outcomes of their labour. Consequently, the domestic workers remain in the workforce through a social relation of
Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 5 6 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

exploitation by way of extraction of value of their labour. They get a wage much lower even than the wage of their counterparts working in other informal sectors in the economy. Moreover, domestic workers remain subject to low wage due to radically decentralised and emotionally ‘intimate’ nature of the work and absence of labour and employment protection.

In addition to the persistent differentials of wage between domestic work and other informal activities in the economy, unreasonable wage differentiations – between rural and urban, female and male, agriculture and industry – exist within the industry of domestic work, compelling the domestic workers to lead downcast lives. Aggravated by the absence of legal and regulatory structure, the wage differentiations within the industry of domestic work encompass ‐overcrowding and undercutting. These two determinants of wage differentials indicate presumed abundant supply and easy substitution of workers. These erode the bargaining power of domestic workers, causing lowering of their wages and non‐observances of rights.

1.3 EMERGING STYLISED FACTS: DEVALUATION AND DISCRIMINATION1

Devaluation and discrimination have emerged as two stylised facts as regards the state of domestic workers in Bangladesh. From both the social and economic points of view, the domestic workers are devalued and discriminated further in comparison with their counterparts working in other sectors in the economy. When the average wage is calculated, it has been found that the wage of the workers in agriculture and forestry, which is depressed, is 1.27 times higher than that of the domestic workers.

 
1The data used in the present section are derived from the Unnayan Onneshan Domestic Workers Survey 2013 and are presented in greater detail in the subsequent chapters of this book.

Discrimination prevails in the sphere of domestic work in terms of exploitation of labour of the domestic workers vis‐à‐vis other formal and informal sector workers. A woman domestic worker works additional nine hours in a week than a woman day labourer who works in agriculture sector and it is 12 hours more than a woman day labourer of non‐agriculture sector. About half of the women domestic workers get Bangladeshi Taka (BDT) 2000 or less per month, which is the lowest amount of wage compared to the workers other informal sectors, whereas only 28.1 percent women day labourer in agriculture sector and 15.4 percent women day labourer in non‐agriculture earn BDT 2000 or less in a month.

It is noteworthy here that an average income of a domestic worker in a month is BDT 2535.76 whereas the minimum wage of a worker working in garment industry, which is also a common form of employment for less educated women is BDT 5300.00 for the same period of working hour. It is a huge differentiation as domestic workers’ wage is only nearly half the wage of garments workers. As a result, the domestic workers generally complain that the prescribed wages are inadequate to afford living in cities and most of the workers, who are migrants, do not afford house of their own. As a result, a major portion of their earning goes to pay house rent. Based on the field survey, it is found that 26.5 percent of domestic workers’ households are headed by female, whose husbands, in some cases, are either unemployed or irregular waged workers. The situation compels the women to shoulder the whole responsibility of running the family. Furthermore, 7.3 percent women, who are separated from their husbands, have to run their families on their own. Besides, almost 30 percent of domestic workers belong to the age group of 40‐50 years, which does not allow them to manage to work for many households. As a result, their incomes become lower leading to deplorable living conditions.

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 7 8 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

The income of the domestic worker also varies according to the types of domestic work. Cooking generates an average hourly wage of BDT 12.58, while cleaning fetches a lower average hourly wage of BDT 10.16. The reason of receiving a lower rate of wage for cleaning than cooking may lie with the perceptions of skills and the social setting of ‘standard of pay.’ Cooking continues to be considered more skilled than other kinds of domestic services. An amazing fact is that, the category of workers falling under both cooking and cleaning (they might be cooking somewhere and cleaning elsewhere or combining both tasks at the same house) commands an average hourly wage of BDT 10.24, which is lower than the average of the two (cooking and cleaning). This happens because they have to often spend longer hours at this work, thereby offsetting the effect of the higher monthly income. The workers who performed the task of caring for children and elderly have the lowest hourly wage of BDT 4.71 among the tasks. The second lowest hourly wage of BDT 6.0 is received by the workers who carry out all tasks i.e. cooking, cleaning and caring for children and elderly. Usually, the two types of workers (mainly children, widowed or elderly) get offers of shelter at the houses of the employers and receive benefits from them other than wages such as food, bonus and credit. The average hourly wage of the workers, associated with other work (guarding, shoping, laundry, gardening etc.), is BDT 9.35 which is the third lowest hourly wage amongst the domestic workers. This makes it clear that in addition to the monetary differences in wages, it is the social standing of a given task that plays key role in determining the degree of devaluation and discrimination.

Working hours in domestic work vary according to the nature of the tasks. Live‐in workers are pivotal in residential care and they concentrate in ensuring that an environment of safe and potential growth is provided to children, young and elderly. Among the surveyed domestic workers, only 16.1 percent are “live‐ins” and the rest of them are ‘live‐outs”. Average working hours in a day by live‐out workers were calculated at 7.98 hours, the live‐in workers on an average toil for 9.81 hours in a day, which is 1.23 times higher.

The wages of workers also diverge in terms of regions. In Dhaka division, the rate of wage for an hour in domestic work is nearly BDT 11.0 for the rural domestic workers, whereas the rate of wage is BDT 14.4 for the urban domestic workers. No city or division can match Dhaka because of centralisation of activities in this capital city of a unitary state, ranging from being the administrative hub to concentration of sectors such as services and industries. So migrants are compelled flock to the city in search of work from the rural areas. Generally, people from the middle and upper class societies, either male or female or both in Dhaka city engage themselves in income generating activities outside home and do not get enough time to spend on their own household work. As a result, these create scope for additional domestic work. Domestic workers in Dhaka city work in many houses, sometimes four or more, in a day and earn more money than those of other divisional headquarters or cities. In rural areas, the working hours of domestic workers in Rajshahi is 1.1 times higher than that of the workers of Dhaka, but their wages is 3.44 times lower, whereas for urban areas in Rajshahi division, the average hour spend a day by a worker is 1.26 times lower and their hourly wage is 2.4 times lower compared to the workers in Dhaka division. It has, therefore, been observed that wage differentials along with disproportionate daily working hour in domestic work exist between and within the regions of the country. The following table shows daily wage differentials for the domestic workers in both rural and urban regions of seven divisions in Bangladesh.

Working in ascertaining the rate of wage in the sphere of domestic work. Policymakers are much more enthusiastic about the issues of abuse and harassment of domestic workers, but dodge questions of wages and entitlement masquerading through citing the class heterogeneity of employers and the dependence of most middle class homes on uninterrupted service of domestic workers. This probably calls for much more changes in public policies than just legislation and social security in the economy.

1.4 THE WAY FORWARD
The research contends to recognise domestic workers ‐ “live‐ins” and “live‐outs” ‐ as labourers and consequential entitlement of rights enshrined in core labour standards, debunking the orthodox euphemistic myths. Based upon ground realities, the research builds five analytical narratives that the domestic workers are (a) unseen, (b) engaged in production, not recipient of consumption goods, (c) involved in public spheres, despite functioning in private spaces, (d) not unique affective labourers, but toiling in employment relationship, and (e) exploited and high surplus value is extracted through wage differentials.

With a view to addressing the devaluation and discrimination in the industry of domestic work as regards vulnerability of workers to low wages, absence of benefits, hazardous working environments and abuses of power by the employers, a number of corrective measures are pressing. Prior to considering these measures to correct the existing underdevelopments in domestic work industry, it is essential to keep such aspects of the industry in mind that domestic work being a public sphere phenomenon, creating exchange value in the economy and begets large surplus value for the employers and entails employment relationships between workers and employers.

Table 1.2: Aspects of Devaluation and Discrimination in Domestic Work
Facets of Domestic Work in Bangladesh
Challenges
The Way Forward

Unseen
Domestic work is considered by the mainstream to be unseen in a way that a domestic worker does not create or distribute any durable goods or consumer products in market rather most of her work is dedicated to cleaning and caring at household, which is unseen.
The domestic workers are to be recognized as labouers and consequential entitlements of rights enshrined in core labour standards are to be ensured.

 

 

Production, Not Consumption
Under this disguise of considering the reproductive labour of domestic workers to have only use‐value, the commodifiaction of their labour is institutionalised.
The commodification of domestic work and the notion of use‐ value produced by the domestic labour must be replaced with the idea of “reproductive labour of domestic workers.”

 
Public Sphere, Not a Private One
Since the home and workplaces are one for the domestic workers in most cases and the notion of ‘home’ is deeply infused with the concept of private sphere, domestic work remains
Domestic work has to be subject to legal and regulatory frameworks by which the employers create and sustain safe, non‐abusive and non‐

 
Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 11 12 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

 

beyond governmental regulation.
discriminatory work environments and the workers can adopt legal recourse if the employers fail to provide such environments.

 

 

 

Unique, but Employment Relationship
The ‘intimacy’ between domestic worker and the employer is an expression as well as impression of inequalities since such intimacy creating an emotional entanglement does not allow the worker to bargain on their rights, and undermines the already structurally limited ability of the workers to negotiate the terms of employment with the employer.
The relationships between workers and employers have to be considered as an employment relation and they are to be provided with coverage of core labour standards.

 

 
Wage Differentiations
The domestic workers remain in the workforce through a social relation of exploitation with their employers, who extract value of their labour, causing them to get a wage much lower than the wage of their counterparts working in the economy.
Legal and regulatory frameworks of domestic work and relevant public policy have to be formulated and implemented in order to check the wage differentiations.

 

In order to rectify the exclusion of domestic workers from employment and labour laws, enactment and enforcement of laws and policies are necessary that ensure minimum wage,

payment for overtime, regular rest and meal periods, healthy and safe work environments, no harassment and abuse at workplace, paid vacation and holidays, right to terminate the agreement of employment through notice and right to organise for the domestic workers in general and standard hours of uninterrupted sleep for the live‐in domestic workers in particular. In addition, strict enforcement of laws has to be ensured in order to check any kinds of violation against the domestic workers by the employers and immediate legal remedial measures have to be taken against the employers accused of doing such violations.

Employers of the domestic workers are required to be aware of, and educated about, the legal rights of workers and hold themselves accountable to the workers for maintaining fair labour standards. The employers have to maintain employment relationship rather than a bond of exploitation with their workers through practising respectful communication and keeping accurate record of hours worked by the workers. Besides, the provisions i.e. a contractual agreement, fair wages including overtime pay and regular pay increments, access to affordable medical care, secured retirement income that are available in the formal sector must be guaranteed by the employers of the domestic workers.

Advocacies are required for framing such laws and polices for implementation in such a way that improves the lives of domestic workers through raising standards across the low‐wage labor market in the economy. It may, however, appear difficult to advocate for the rights of domestic workers in the current economic and political setting where the exploitation is the benchmark. Nevertheless, attempts at improving job quality as well as quality of lives for the domestic workers through increasing the minimum wage, strengthening social security, paying sick and family leave and providing opportunities for
Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 13 14 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

 

career advancement must be initiated with a view to institutionalising the rights of domestic workers.

A developed social security system may work as a significant remedial measure on abolishing the exploitations of domestic workers and their structural disadvantages. In addition, at the macroeconomic level, a balance between rural and urban development should be maintained in a way that stamps out the prevalence of rural‐urban discriminations in the domestic work industry. Since the movements of domestic workers for rights and respect have been gaining impetus globally, the organisation of domestic workers should be allowed nationally and the policy makers must take heed of the voices as well as the rights of the domestic workers in the country.

References
Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS). 2004, Report on the Labour Force Survey, Bangladesh 2002‐2003. Dhaka: Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS).

Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS). 2008, Report of the Labour Force Survey, Bangladesh 2005‐2006. Dhaka: Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS).

Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS). 2011, Report of the Labour Force Survey, Bangladesh 2010. Dhaka: Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS).

Burnham, L. and Theodore, N. 2012, Home Economics: The Invisible and Unregulated Work of Domestic Work, New York: National Domestic Workers Alliance.
Dalla Costa, M. and James, S. 1972, The Power of Women and the Subversion of the Community, London: Butler and Tanner Ltd.

Gutierrez‐Rodriguez, E. 2010, Migration, Domestic Work and Affect, London: Routledge.

Hartmann, H. 1981, “The Unhappy Marriage of Marxism and Feminism: Towards a More Progressive Union”, Capital and Class 8: 1–33.

Himmelweit, S. 1995, “The Discovery of ‘Unpaid Work’: The Social Consequences of the Expansion of ‘Work’”, Feminist Economics, 1 (2): 1–19.

Kaur, K. 2013, Waged Domestic Laboureres, Paper Presented as additional support to Learning & Policy Series: Making
Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 15 16 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination
Decent Work Reality for Domestic Workers, Availabe at: http://governance.care2share.wikispaces.net/file/view/W aged+Domestic+Labourers+2013+Kuldip+Kaur.pdf(Acces sed April 29, 2014).

Picchio, A. 2003, Unpaid Work and the Economy, London: Routledge.

Romero, M. 1992, Maid in the USA, London: Routledge.

 
Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 17 18 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

 

Chapter Two
METHODS AND MATERIALS Md. Ayub Ali

or their self residence. Direct interview method was followed during data collection period from 20 November to 15 December, 2013. The interviewers personally visited the individuals of the sample households for a face to face interview. The questionnaires contained Bengali words. Information about domestic workers was collected from different well‐known people in the respective randomly selected region.

2.2.1 Sample Design

 

2.1 INTRODUCTION

A Multistage Stratified Sampling (MSS) was used for the Domestic Workers Survey 2013 in Bangladesh.
The aim of the “Survey on Domestic Workers 2013” was to obtain up‐to‐date information of domestic workers regarding women, child, and migrant along with their wage and working patterns, their working environment and rights. The final attempt of this book is to suggest some policies and future directions based on the findings of the study. Since methodology is the philosophy of research for solving any problem systematically, it is necessary to understand not only the methodology but also consider the logic behind the methods. Under the circumstances, the present chapter is devoted to indicate a brief description of the sample design, sample size, calculation of error term, preparation of questionnaire, execution of survey in the field, quality control, editing and data processing, research methodology and limitations of the study. All types of current domestic workers were eligible for the survey. The survey was designed to produce representative sample for the country as a whole, for the urban and the rural areas separately, and for each of the seven divisions.

2.2 METHOD OF DATA COLLECTION

Stratification
The sample was stratified and selected in multiple stages. The seven administrative divisions of Bangladesh were stratified into seven strata. From each stratum one district was randomly selected. It was assumed that the socio‐economic conditions of all the districts in each division are unique. Then the number of households, according to the Statistical Pocketbook of Bangladesh 2012, at each division was calculated by using a probability proportional to size at the first stage of sampling. In the second stage, the selected seven districts were stratified into urban and rural areas. The district headquarters of each district were considered as urban area and one randomly selected upazila (excluding district headquarters) was considered as rural area. To keep adequate representation from each area exact proportional allocation was done. In third stage, enumerators from respective wards/villages made a list of domestic workers. Then the respondents were randomly selected from the list. The process of data collection is shown below in a diagram (Figure 2.1).
The Domestic Workers Survey 2013 was carried out on target basis. Eligible persons were interviewed at the house of employer
Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 19 20 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

 

 

Figure 2.1: Process of data collection Figure 2.2: Study area of survey

Study Area of Survey

Survey of domestic workers was conducted among seven administrative divisions throughout the country. The map of

Bangladesh, which was used to collect data, is shown below along with the collected number of respondents from each of the divisions.

 

Note: Resp. means respondents

 
Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 21 22 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination
2.3 CALCULATION OF SAMPLE SIZE Table 2.1: Sample size by division
The equation of necessary sample size is, n = {t2* σ* (1‐ σ)}/ e2 Where,
n = Sample size

σ2 = Standard deviation

t = 95% Confidence Interval for large scale sampling e = Error term

In this study,

σ = 0.5 (Since we haven’t actually administered our survey yet 0.5 is the most forgiving number and ensures that the sample will be large enough).
t = 1.96 (95% Z scores)

e = 0.05 (Marginal error)

Therefore, n = {(1.962* 0.5*(1‐0.5)}/ 0.052 = 384.16
That is, in case of large scale sampling more than 384 samples statistically represent a population at 5% level of significance. In the current study, the number of sample size was considered as 550 as a round figure. However, the domestic workers survey have finalised 536 samples due to the irrelevant answer of respondents, inconsistency of data, missing term and others unavoidable reasons.

 

 

 

*Percent of HH (household) is calculated on the basis of Population and Housing Census 2011 from SPB (2012)
# District headquarters of each district were considered as urban area and one randomly selected upazila (excluding district headquarters) was considered as rural area
2.4 CALCULATION OF ERROR TERM

The calculation of error term is, e = √[{t2* σ* (1‐ σ)}/ n] Here,
σ = 0.5 t = 1.96 n = 536
Therefore, e = √[{(1.962* 0.5*(1‐0.5)}/ 536] = 0.042

 

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 23 24 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

2.5 PREPARATION OF QUESTIONNAIRE
A draft questionnaire for the Domestic Workers Survey 2013 was designed on the basis of the objectives of the survey. An informal pre‐testing of the draft questionnaire was carried out before finalizing the questionnaire.

2.6 EXECUTION OF SURVEY IN THE FIELD
A total of 12 experienced interviewers were deployed at the field level to conduct the survey through the continuous supervision from the experts of the Unnayan Onneshan. Field work was undertaken in two phases, i) household listing as well as selection of an respondent and ii) face to face interview was taken from the respondents with a pre‐scheduled questionnaire. The interviewer was instructed well to introduce himself/herself with the selected individual at first, then described the objective of the survey in brief and made clear to the selected individual about his/her responsibilities in filling‐up the questionnaire. They were also instructed to seek cooperation from the respondent. Then the selected individual was requested to sit for the interview. After completion of the survey, he/she thanked the respondent and checked the questionnaire for the missing value. In this way, the interviewer completed the entire data collection work assigned to him/her.

2.7 QUALITY CONTROL
The whole process of data collection was properly monitored and supervised to ensure the quality. Social policy unit of the Unnayan Onneshan were engaged to supervise the field work of Domestic Workers Survey cautiously and continuously every day during the whole data collection period.

2.8 EDITING AND DATA PROCESSING
A great deal of quality control depends on post data collection activities including editing and processing. Utmost effort was made to ensure quality of data through appropriate editing and processing. The methods adopted for data editing, coding, entry and processing were as follows:

i) Editing

The data were edited rigorously to make correction of any existing inconsistencies and to minimise the non‐sampling error of the studies. After editing, the questionnaires had been ready for coding.

ii) Coding

All the recorded data were coded in code sheets according to a comprehensive code plan. It makes the process easier and faster. The researcher to minimise possible bias due to coding of open question did coding of the data.

iii) Computerisation

After completing coding, researchers entered survey data into computer. They selected a suitable computer programme for data entry and analysis. Entire computerisation of data has been performed by a computer package named Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) for windows version 16.0. Besides the package MS word 2007 is used only for type writing and Bengali software “Bijoy” was used to prepare the Bengali questionnaire. The software statistica 6.0 and stata 9.1 is used for graphics and design.

2.9 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
The methodology used in applied research is equally important as the data. Not every methodology is suitable for analysing every set of data matching an appropriate methodology for

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 25 26 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

graduating and analysing a set of data is a difficult task for a researcher. For this reason, in most of the times researcher used alternative at methodology to graduate and analyse a set of data. Finally, the researchers compute the finding obtained from different methodology and support the most logical one as compared with the reality so here the statistical analysing is used. Firstly, the researchers have observed all selected variables by frequency distribution and graphical presentation. In addition, the statistical techniques such as contingency analysis (Chi‐ square test) and logistic regression have been used.

In logistic regression analysis, the variables are categorised into dichotomous. The strongly disagree and disagree categories are considered for not‐agree category. Since undecided respondents are not sure about their decision, they are also considered as not‐ agree category. On the other hand, the strongly agree and agree categories are converted as agree category.

2.9.1 Frequency Distribution
When observations, discrete or continuous are available on single characteristics of a large number of individuals, it becomes necessary to condense the data as far as possible without any information of interest. If the identity of individuals, about whom particular information is taken, is not relevant, nor the order in which the observations arise, then the first real step of condensation is to divide the observed range of variables into a suitable number of class intervals and to record the number of observations in each class. Such a table, showing the distribution of the frequencies in the different classes, is called a frequency table and the manner in which the class frequencies are distributed over the class interval is called the grouped frequency distribution, simply distribution of the variable. Experts have come across some situation in which each item of a series may have two or more variables. The distribution, in which the experts consider two variables simultaneously for each item of

the series, is known as bivariate distribution or bivariate frequency distribution. The bivariate frequency distribution is performed here in terms of contingency analysis.

2.9.2 Contingency Analysis

The contingency analysis is investigating the degree of association between different phenomenons that could be useful in the analysis. At first, the researchers have constructed some simple cross table and then examined the association. For contingency analysis, it is assumed that the hypothesis of independence or homogeneity as the null hypothesis. The expected frequency under the null hypothesis is
Oi .O. j ij N
Where,

Eij = The expected number of respondents in the (i, j) th cell.

Oi . = Number of respondents in i‐th row of respective contingency table.
O.j = Number of respondents in the j‐th column of respective contingency table.
N=Total number of respondents.

All contingency tables are prepared based on classification of variables or attribute. For each contingency table, computing chi‐ square makes examination of association between the component and the various segments of the components. The formula is
given by 2 ∑∑Oij2 −N ; with (r‐1) (c‐1) degrees of the i1 j1

freedom (Gupta and Kapoor, 1994).

Where, Oij and Eij are the observed and expected number of respondents in the (i,j)th cell respectively.

To test the homogeneity between two attributes the following hypothesis is used.

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 27 28 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

Null hypothesis, H0: There is no association between two attributes X and Y.
Alternative hypothesis, H1: H0 is not true.
We know that the null hypothesis might be accepted at the 5% level of significance, if the 2‐side asymptotic significance is less than 0.05. Otherwise the null hypothesis is might be rejected. For this particular problem, we observe that the null hypothesis is might be accepted at the 5% level of significance when the Pearson’s chi‐ square test is used.

2.9.3 Development of Logistic Regression Analysis
The logistic regression analysis is made to identify the risk factors for incidence of an event. Cox (1958) is the pioneer of logistic regression model. Subsequently this model was illustrated by Walker and Duncun (1967) and Cox (1970). More recently, Lee (1980) and Fox (1984) have further illustrated the Cox’s model. The logistic regression model may be briefly described as follows: Let Yi denote dichotomous dependent variable for the ith observation and Yi = yi = 1, if the ith individual is a success and Yi = yi = 0, if the ith individual is a failure.
So that, pi E{yi 1| Xi}1e−(0 B Xi ) where Xi is explanatory variable and

1−pi E{yi 0| Xi} 1−1e −(0 B Xi ) −(BoB Xi)

= 1e−(0 B Xi )

= 1e(0 1X1) Therefore, we can write

pi 1e(o 1Xi ) 1−pi l e−(o 1Xi )

=e(o 1Xi )……………………………(1)
Now if we take natural log of the equation (1) we obtain

Li loge (1−pi ) o 1Xi ………………..(2)

Here, pi /(1‐ pi ) given in (1) is simply the odds ratio and Li given in (2) is known as log odds.

Instead of single explanatory variable, we can count two or more explanatory variables. Let Xi1, Xi2, …………………….. Xik be the vector of k independent explanatory variables for the ith response. The logarithm of the ratio pi and (l‐ pi ) gives the linear function of Xij and the model (2) becomes,
k
Li loge ( i )  Bj Xij ………………………..(3)

i jo
Where we consider Xi0 = 1 and βj is the parameter relation to Xij. The function (3) is a linear function for both the variables X and parameter β. L is called the logit and hence the model (3) is called logistic regression model.

Interpretation of the Parameters

Interpretation of the parameters in logistic model is not so straight forward as in linear regression model. So, it is relevant to present a little discussion about it. Since the logit transformation

Li loge (1−pi ) is linear in parameter, we can interpreter the parameters using arguments of linear regression. Thus the interpretation may be described as follows:

 

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 29 30 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

 

0 1X1………k Xk
We have, pi 1e0 1X1………k Xk is a linear in parameter.

i.e. Li loge (1−pi ) 0 1X1 ………….k Xk

So, arguing analogously as in the case of linear model we can say

that βj (j=1,2,………, k) represent the rate of change in loge (1−pi ) for one unit change in Xj (other variables remaining constant).

The interpretation of the parameters in logistic regression has another interesting aspect. In fact, this is the proper interpretation for the parameters of qualitative variable coefficient. To describe this, we first consider that the independent variable (Xj) is dichotomous. This case in not only the simplest but also it gives the conceptual foundation for all other situations. The description is given below.

We have Loge 1−pi o 1 X1 …………j X j k Xk Now if Xj is a dichotomous variable taking values 0 and 1, then the odds ratio ‘O’ (say) for Xj = 1 against Xj=0 is (keeping all other X’s fixed)
p (Y 1| X,X 1)
{1−pi (Yi 1| X, X j 1} pi(Y 1| X, X 0)
{1−pi (Y 1| X, X j 0)}

0 1X1………..j Xj……Bk Xk e0 1X1………0.j ……Bk Xk

= ej
⇒LogeO j

So, we can directly estimate the coefficients of a logistic

regression model as loge O and hence can interpreter. In a qualitative independent variable has m categories, we introduce only (m‐1) dummy variables and the remaining one is taken as reference category.

Estimation of the Parameters

In order to estimate the unknown parameters we cannot use the standard OLS method, Because in that case we must face some special problem as non‐normality of the disturbance terms, heteroscedastic variance of the disturbance terms, non‐fulfillment of the axiom i.e. 0 ≤Pi = E (Yi|X)≤1 and questionable value of R2 as a measure of goodness of fit.

To eliminate the above problem, Cox suggested the maximum likelihood estimation method in place of standard OLS method and proposed the following function.
n exp(Yi ∑j Xij ) L 0,1,…….k  i1 jo
∏{1exp(Yi ∑j Xij )} i1 jo

k k
exp{ (Yi j Xij ) i1 j0

n {1exp(Yi ∑j Xij )} i1 jo

exp{∑(j ∑XijYi )  j0 i1
∏{1exp(Yi ∑j Xij )} i1 jo
Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 31 32 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination
exp{∑jtj} i1

n k
{1exp(Yi j Xij )}

i1 jo
where

tj ∑Xi jYj , j 0,1,……..,k i1
The log‐likelihood function is given by

k n k
loge L( 0 , 1,….. k )  jtj − loge{1exp(Yi j Xij )}

j0 i1 j0

 

In order to estimate the parameter of this function, the logistic regression procedure of statistical package SPSS for windows base 16.0 version may be used.

2.10 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
The women domestic workers 2013 have the following limitations:
a) Age heaping may be observed due to not having literacy and digit preference.
b) Few employers refused to permit to take the interview of domestic child workers in spite of ensuring them about the confidentiality of survey data.

 

 

 

 

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 33 34 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

 

 

 
Chapter Three

WOMEN DOMESTIC WORKERS: STUCK IN VICIOUS CYCLE Md. Ayub Ali

 

3.1 INTRODUCTION
The chapter highlights the situation of women domestic workers in Bangladesh along with the identification of influencing factors associated with the involvement of women in domestic work. Now‐a‐days, participation of women in income generating activities has increased, mostly in informal activities (Ali, 2013); however, there is no exact statistics of women domestic workers over the country. Besides, very limited number of research concerning the women domestic workers has been done in Bangladesh. Moreover, researches on issues of women domestic worker conducted by different organisations in Bangladesh are based on rights and violation. According to the report of Aino Salish Kendra (2014), a total of 78 domestic workers were violated and oppressed in 2013, of which only 24 of them have taken legal action against their violation. Sengupta and Sen (2013) focused on wage determination of domestic workers in Kolkata through various economic, social and cultural dimensions. Neetha (2013) found in India that domestic workers are devalued in household work through minimum wages. Coelho et. al. (2013) took a spatial approach analysing markets for urban domestic work in Chennai. In addition, they looked at domestic work against the background of larger employment markets for low‐skilled female workers, and the range of options and preferences that frame it.

Women domestic workers are historically identified as undignified and “dirty” work and this work divides women by race and class by defining domestic workers as “dirty” and defining the women who benefit from their labour as “clean” (Palmer 1989). Moreover, employers do not want to give the proper value to their employee, rather they think the worker as a servant instead of a labour. Even when they torture or harass their household workers, they think that it is natural. As a result, the alienated mentality is the subject to harassments and abuses their household workers. Under this curcumstances, this chapter tries to overcome the shortcomings of the previous researches. The chapter consists of the current situation of women including their health, education and employment status, life and livelihood status of women domestic workers, cause of involvement in domestic work, and of some recommendations in order to formulate new policies and programmes.

3.2 STATUS OF WOMEN DOMESTIC WORKERS
Women have a higher propensity than men to be concentrated in the informal jobs (Odih, 2007); domestic work is one of them. Moreover, less capacity to adjust with different socio‐cultural and environmental trajectories of women have been subjected them to violence, injustices and dispossession. As a result, different structural rigidities and backwardness of patriarchal society overwhelmed the progress of women in Bangladesh over the years.

3.2.1 Current Age
Survey result indicates that most of the women domestic workers (40.7 percent) are in the age group of 36‐45 years followed by the age group 26‐35 years that is 24.9 percent. Moreover, 23.9 percent of the respondents are in the age group 46+ years. Lowest number of the respondents (17.9 percent) belongs to the age

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 35 36 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination
group ≤ 25 years. The average age of the respondents is 38 years. Figure 3.1: Adult literacy rate of population (15+ years) Women at age group 36‐45 get time to work outside the home,
and are able to maintain a balance of work between home and workplace. On the other hand, women less than this age have to maintain family and siblings; whereas women more than age group of 36‐45 years are less capable to balance of work between home and workplace. Therefore, women at age 38 have highest participation in domestic work.

3.2.2 Education

Over the years, literacy rate for women is increasing all over the country, however, most of the women domestic workers are engaged in domestic work without any formal education. In this study, about half of the respondents (46.7 percent) are uneducated (Table 3.2) whereas, the second highest (41.6 percent) of the respondents have studied up to primary education. The lowest number of the respondents (11.7 percent) has engaged themselves in the domestic work with education six and above. On the other hand, literacy rate for women has increased from 40.8 percent in 2001 to 48.6 percent in 2005 with a growth of 7.8 percentage points (Figure 3.1). After the next five year of 2005, this literacy rate has increased to 55.4 percent in 2010 from 48.6 percent in 2005 with a growth of 6.8 percentage points. This is an indication that most of the uneducated respondents are engaged in domestic work facing the problem of poverty. Several income assistance programmes like the budgetary allocation of government on female education, free primary education, massive stipend programmes and food for education programme have helped to improve the rate of women literacy which has no effect on the status of domestic workers. Most of the domestic workers start their job from the very beginning of their life and do not have access to education. Moreover, domestic work is the most common form to the uneducated women. Therefore, despite the improvement of overall education status of women, higher percent of uneducated women is involved in domestic work.

 

 
Source: Author’s calculation based on Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, 2011a

3.2.3 Physical Condition and Treatment
In case of women domestic workers, 4 of every 10 were found fairly physically sound during the survey period. Similar number of respondents was found moderately sick; whereas only 20 percent of them were found sick. While investigating the causes of sickness, malnutrition2 has appeared as the most influencing factor. Even though problem of malnutrition among women has been decreasing over the years, women domestic workers have been found suffering from the highest level of malnutrition (Figure 3.5 and Table 3.1). The malnutrition of women who have lowest wealth has decreased from 47.1 percent in 2004 to 40.1 percent in 2011 with an annual rate of 2.12 percent (Figure 3.5).
2 A cutoff point of Body Mass Index (BMI) less than 18.5 is used to define thinness or acute under nutrition. Whereas, a cutoff point of ≥25.0 is used to define overweight or obesity under nutrition.

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 37 38 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

 

In Bangladesh, a total of 4932 people stopped taking treatment during their ailment because of their unaffordability to take medicine (BBS, 2011) whereas, 36.4 percent of women domestic workers stopped taking treatment in last six months due to various reasons. Out of them, despite the involvement in income generating activities, 17.6 percent reported that they did not take treatment due to the shortage of money.

Table 3.1: Physical condition and treatment

Physical Condition

Perce nt
Taking treatment during ailment in last 6 months

Percent

Fairly sound Sick

Moderate

39.7

20.6

39.7

Yes

63.6

 

No
36.4

Short of money
Other reasons

Total
100.0
15.6
20.8
Source: Unnayan Onneshan Field Survey 2013

3.2.4 Marital Status
Almost seven married women of every 10 have engaged themselves in domestic work (Table 3.2) whereas, 33.0 percent of total respondents are widowed, divorced and separated who have engaged themselves in this activity. For the widowed or divorced or separated women, domestic work is the easy way to earn for their survival. The married women, involved in domestic activity, are doing job as domestic workers mainly because of the insolvency of family. Since married women are on the better position as compared with widowed, divorced and separated women, marital status has an effect to become domestic workers.

3.2.5 Main Occupation of Husband
Inadequate income of husband pushes the women in domestic work. When the income of husband is not sufficient for maintaining the expenses of family, women try to find income source. In this study, four respondents of every 10 whose husbands are day labourer or rickshaw or van puller are engaged in domestic work. Almost same result is shown in case of respondents whose husband is unemployed or physically disable or whose husband has died. There are limited number of respondents (5.5 percent) whose husbands are employed in farming or fishing or tailoring have engaged themselves in domestic work and the number of the women whose husbands are employed as small shopkeeper or night guard or garment worker is 16.1 percent. To augment the income of family, husband from the occupation of small shop‐keeping or night guard or garment worker and also from agriculture or fishing or tailoring are less interested to send their wife to the domestic work.

3.2.6 Household Size
Large family size might be an important cause of involvement of women in the informal job sector like domestic work. The average household size of the respondents is 4.76 i.e., nearer to 5. More specifically, majority of the respondents (47.6 percent) have their household size of 4‐5 members whereas, 28.0 percent have their household size of 6 and above members. The lowest number of respondents belongs to the family members of 3 or less.

3.2.7 Type of family
In Bangladesh, the traditional joint family structure is breaking down over the years and gradually being replaced by nuclear families. The study of domestic workers survey 2013 found that, about eight of every 10 respondents are living in a nuclear family

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 39 40 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

while only two of every 10 respondents are living in a joint family. Economic insolvency in family, attitudes of self‐interest, maladjustment, quarrels, and urban based job structure help to form the nuclear family in the society.
Table 3.2: Socio‐demographic characteristics of the respondents
Covariates Percent
Covariates Percent

Current Age
≤ 25 17.9 26‐35 24.9 36‐45 33.3 46+ 23.9 Average age 37.75
years
Educational status
No education 46.7 Up to primary 41.6 Six or above 11.7 Average education Class III

Household Size

≤ 3 24.4 4‐5 47.6 6+ 28.0

Average household 4.76 persons

Marital Status
Married 67.0 Widowed or Separated

Types of work

Part time 48.3 Permanent/Residual 51.7

Job tenure
<3 year 17.9 3 to <7 year 23.5 7 to <11year 32.2 11 and over 26.3
Average job tenure 10.25 years
Forms of wages
Piece rate 3.63 Time rate 4.59 Monthly 93.78

Type of family
Nuclear 79.8

Joint
20.2
Main occupation of husband Agriculture or
fishing or tailoring Day labour or
rickshaw or van 40.4 puller
Small shopkeeper or
night guard or 16.1 garment worker

 

Food habit per day

3 times 91.1 < 3 times 8.9

Unemployed or
physically unable or 38.2 having no husband

 

Source: Unnayan Onneshan Field Survey 2013

3.2.8 Food Habit
The rate of female domestic workers who can afford to take food three times a day is 91.1 percent (Table 3.2). Only 8.9 percent of them take food less than two times in a day because of insufficient food at home. The percentage of women in the country who skips entire meals because of not having enough food for them is 18.1 percent (National Institute of Population Research and Training, Mitra and Associates, and MEASURE DHS, 2012).
3.2.9 Types of Work
More than 50 percent women domestic workers do their job as permanent employee (Table 3.2). Rests (48.3 percent) of them are part time workers. Changes of family formation over the years are responsible for high percentage of part time workers.
3.2.10 Forms of Wages
The forms of wages vary from employee to employee. Most of the respondents (91.78 percent) receive their wages as monthly basis (Table 3.2). Only 3.63 percent of them receive their wages as piece rate whereas 4.59 percent as time rate.
3.2.11 Income and Expenditure of Family
About four respondents of every 10 have familial earning of BDT 3001‐6000 per month (Table 3.3) whereas, almost three respondents of every 10 and two respondents of every 10 have the monthly family income of ≤ BDT 3000 and BDT 6001‐9000 respectively.
Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 41 42 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

Table 3.3: Economic characteristics of the respondents

 

 
* To meet the demand of family, respondents contribution of money (in percents)
Source: Unnayan Onneshan Field Survey 2013
The lowest number of respondent’s monthly family income belongs to the highest income group among the category. In case of total expenditure of family, result expresses almost the same percentage as of monthly family income of respondents.

3.3 JOB RESPONSIBILITY
The women domestic workers perform heavy and responsible jobs like mopping floor, washing clothes and dishes, cleaning, laundry, assisting in cooking, looking after children, shopping and rice processing. Most of the respondents have to do multiple jobs. Cooking, cleaning and washing are the most common tasks of women domestic workers in both urban and rural area.

Table 3.4: Job responsibility by region

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Unnayan Onneshan Field Survey 2013

There are some variations in the type of tasks that women domestic workers perform in rural and urban localities. The most common jobs that women domestic workers performs in rural locality are cooking, cleaning and washing (29.7 percent); cleaning and washing (26.0 percent); cooking, cleaning, washing and rice processing (12.7 percent); cooking, child care, cleaning, washing and laundry (6.0 percent); cooking, cleaning, washing and laundry (6.0 percent); cooking / cooking assistant (4.0 percent); serve food (3.5 percent); child care, cleaning and washing (3.3 percent); poultry rearing (2.5 percent); cleaning, washing and laundry (2.0 percent); cooking, cleaning, washing and shopping (2.0 percent); and cooking, child care, cleaning, washing and laundry (1.3 percent); and mopping floor (1.0 percent). In urban locality, women domestic workers also perform similar jobs, but poultry rearing and rice processing is a less frequent job and mopping floor is much more common there (10.2 percent).

3.4 EARNINGS OF WOMEN DOMESTIC WORKERS
Women domestic workers are lowest paid employee in Bangladesh among all categories of job holders. Wage differentials are higher among the women domestic workers and the women working in other informal sectors. About half of the woman domestic workers get BDT 500 or less per week (the lowest amount of money among the categories) from their service (Figure 3.2) whereas, only 28.1 percent women day labourer in agriculture sector and a little (15.4 percent) number of women day labourer in non‐agriculture earn BDT 500 or less in a week (Figure 3.2). On the other hand, only 0.2 percent of woman domestic workers get BDT 2001 or more per week, the highest amount of money among the categories from domestic work. Approximately eight percent of women day labourers both in agriculture and non‐agriculture sector earns the same amount of money in a week. Moreover, 5.3 percent of women domestic

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 43 44 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

workers, 23.7 percent of women day labourers in agriculture sector and 41.0 percent of women day labourers in non‐ agriculture sector belong to the category of the earning of BDT 1501‐2000 per week.
Another noticeable thing is that the average income of a domestic worker in a week is BDT 633.94, whereas the minimum wage of a garment worker (which is also a common form of employment for less educated women) is BDT 1236.67 for the same period.

Figure 3.2: Comparison of weekly income (in BDT)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Author’s calculation based on survey data and Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) 2011
3.5 WORKING CONDITION
Working conditions, for example length of working hours, leave facility, problems and violence etc., are more important to know the status of women domestic workers. Therefore, the working conditions are discussed below:

3.5.1 Length of Working Hours
Women domestic workers work more than the women servicing in the other jobs. A woman domestic worker, on an average, works about 9 hours a day (Table 3.5). The result indicates that a woman domestic worker works 63 hours on weekly basis in the workplace, whereas, a woman day labourer in agriculture sector works on an average 54 hours per week and a woman day labourer in non‐agriculture, on an average, 51 hours per week (BBS, 2011). That means, a domestic women worker works 9 hours more in a week than a women day labourer who works in agriculture sector and it is 12 hours more than a women day labourer of non‐agriculture sector. In this study, 53.1 percent of total respondents work more than 9 hours per day whereas, only 10 percent of total respondents reportedly working for 1 to 4 hours, 35.2 percent work for 5 to 8 hours. The highest number of respondents (44.6 percent) work for 9 to 12 hours and 8.5 percents works for more than 13 hours per day. A majority (77.0 percent) of women domestic workers have said that they are allowed 2 or more hours per day as leisure period. Furthermore, nearly 80 percent of total respondents work 7 days a week. It may, therefore, be said that most of the women domestic workers are involved in worst form of labour.
3.5.2 Leave Facility
Weekly day of rest for the women domestic workers is not practiced in Bangladesh. A great majority of 80.6 percent of women domestic workers have said that they are not allowed for weekly leave, whereas only 19.4 percent of them get the facility to take leave in a week, however, in most of the cases they get the facilities of leave for half day.

 

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 45 46 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

3.5.3 Problem Faced in Workplace
Women domestic workers have to face different kinds of problems in their workplace. Late salary and salary reduction are common among that. With a little fault or due to delay to complete the task exerts the burden of punishment to women domestic workers. In most of the cases, the punishment is converted into reduction in salary. The highest number of respondents (32.14) has faced the problem of late salary and has been forced to work during sickness following late salary and salary reduction (26.19 percent), forced to work during sickness (12.50 percent), salary reduction (11.31 percent), and late salary, salary reduction and forced to work during sickness (4.17 percent) (Table 3.5).

Table 3.5: Working conditions of women domestic workers
Variables Perce nt
Covariates Perce nt

Working hours 1‐4 9.7 5‐8 35.2 9‐12 44.6
13+ 8.5
Problem faced in workplace
Late salary 13.69 Salary reduction 11.31 Force to work during sickness 12.50 Late salary and forced work 32.14 Late salary and salary reduction 26.19
Late salary, salary reduction and 4.17 forced work

Leave facility
No leave 80.6
Get leave 19.4

Total 100.0
Total 100.0
Source: Unnayan Onneshan Field Survey 2013
3.5.4 Violence against women domestic workers
Violence against women domestic workers is not eliminating in Bangladesh over the years. Moreover, increase in violence is seen

while 78 people in 2013 than 51 people in 2001 (Figure 3.3). However, between the period 2001 and 2013, the violence against women domestic workers has followed the wavy curve line3. The curve of violence shows the highest figure on 2011, when 117 domestic workers were violated in their workplace. Several complex and interconnected institutionalised social and cultural factors have kept women domestic workers particularly vulnerable to the violence directed at them. Factors contributing to these unequal power relations include: socioeconomic status, fear of and control over earning source, belief in the inherent superiority of employer, and legislation and cultural sanctions that have traditionally denied domestic workers an independent legal and social status.

Figure 3.3: Violence against women domestic workers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Ain o Salish Kendra (2010 to 2014)
3 Wavy curve line is known as multiple curves, or arcs, comprise a wave which generally consists of a crest (high point) and a trough (low point). In general, a wavy line would be two or more curved lines that are connected.

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 47 48 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

3.6 CAUSE OF INVOLVEMENT IN DOMESTIC WORK
Ever‐increasing demands for sustenance have driven the women to work in informal sectors. Besides, multiple reasons are associated with the engagement of women into domestic work as a maid servant. One of the dominant factors is the economic insolvency of family. Another most influential factor is the deficiency of skill and capacities, though there are job crisis in the formal sector in Bangladesh. The result of the domestic workers survey 2013 shows that 67.9 percent of total respondents have engaged themselves in domestic work due to the economic insolvency of their family. Whereas, 6.5 percent of the respondents are exploited from formal sector and engaged them in domestic work due to not availability of job. Women from landless family, family members who are affected by river erosion and the women who have no earning member in the family have also engaged themselves in the household work. Due to the scarcity of land, 3.8 percent women are engaged with domestic work while 1.2 percent due to river erosion and 2.4 percent because of having no earning member in the family. Despite these issues, multiple reasons are associated with the involvement of women in domestic work. Both the reasons of economic insolvency of family and landlessness pushed 6.7 percent women into domestic work. Whereas, familyʹs economic insolvency and not availability of employment has pushed 4.3 percent of them in the same profession.

The fact is that, men can avail a job easily as compared to women. Most of the women are involved in household work. Though the rate of involvement in household work is decreasing over the years, more than half of the women are still engaged in this sector (Table 3.8). Moreover, despite the participation of women in income generating activities or labour force4 increasing in the
4 Labour force or the economically active population is defined as persons aged 15 and over, who are either employed or unemployed

recent years; the rate of involvement in informal sector is increasing with a more accelerated rate than that of employment rate. The rate of increase in participation of women in employment5 was 8.61 percent between 2000 and 2005 and was 8.67 percent between 2005 and 2010. On the other hand, the rate of increase of women in informal sector was 9.39 percent between 2000 and 2005 and was 10.72 percent between 2005 and 2010 (Figure 3.6). Therefore, economic reasons (poverty, lack of employment, landlessness) are the dominant factors for involvement of women in informal activity like domestic working.
Besides these economic reasons, there also exist socio‐cultural and judicial reasons associated with the involvement of women in the domestic work. Moreover, judicial inequality and negative mentality of legal institutions effect on the engagement of women in the domestic work.

Table 3.6: Causes of involvement in domestic work

Causes Percent

Familyʹs economic insolvency 67.9 Landlessness 3.8 River erosion 1.2 Not availability of employment 6.5 For earning more 7.2 No earning member in family 2.4 Familyʹs economic insolvency and landlessness 6.7 Familyʹs economic insolvency and not availability of
employment

Total 100.0

Source: Unnayan Onneshan Field Survey 2013
during the reference period of the survey (week proceeding to the day of the survey).
5 Employed population is a person who was either working one or more hour hours for pay or profit or working without pay in a family farm or enterprise or organization during the reference period or found not working but had a job or business from which he/she was temporarily absent during the reference period.

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 49 50 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

3.7 LENGTH OF JOB SERVICES
Average length of job tenure of women domestic workers is 10.25 years (Table 3.2). That means, women are continuing their job more than a decade as domestic workers because they are not capable to manage job in other sectors. Plus, they are not leaving this domestic work because their family still faces the problem of economic hardship, for which they engaged in this work. Most (32.2 percent) of the women are involved in domestic work from 7 to less than 11 years. While, the second highest (26.3 percent) are engaged from 11+ years and 23.5 are engaged from 3 to less than 7 years. Only 17.9 percent of them have been serving this job less than three years. Marginal condition of family stuck the women into domestic work over the years.

Figure 3.4: Flowchart of stuck in scarcity of women domestic workers
3.8 STUCK IN VICIOUS CYCLE

Participation of women in job market as domestic workers is the result of several drivers, namely economic insolvency, unemployment, landlessness, environmental degradation, not having earning member and a few. In the workplace, however, they are harassed physically and deprived mentally. Plus, they earn a little through investing excessive working hours and do not get their rights as a labour. Despite the violation of rights, they are still doing the job as domestic workers. For the reason that, their earnings are not good enough to fulfill their needs that can help them to move out from the job of domestic work. As a consequence, women increase their length of service as domestic workers. That means women domestic workers are in a trap of poverty, despite their participation in economic activity.

 

 

 

 

3.9 DETERMINANTS OF INVOLVEMENT IN DOMESTIC WORK BY LOGISTIC REGRESSION ANALYSIS

Multiple determinants affect people to engage with domestic work, economic insolvency is the most influential among all. This study reveals that 7 respondents of every 10 have involved in domestic work due to the economic insolvency of their families. To identify the associated factors regarding the participation in domestic work, logistic regression analysis is run (The estimation procedure of logistic regression analysis is described on chapter 2). The dependent variable, which is examined with other

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 51 52 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

independent covariates, for identifying the determinants of involvement in domestic work is‐ “economic insolvency is the main cause of becoming domestic worker”. The result shows that marital status, total family members, education, region (place of residence) are highly significant factors, based on statistical analysis, affecting the engagement in domestic work (Table 3.7). In addition, monthly income and expenditure of family are statistically significant determinants to become a domestic worker. The relative odds ratio for each category along with β value, standard error of β value and its statistical significance are also presented in Table 3.7.

number of social security at older age, mainly for the widowed, bound the old women to work as household workers.

Table 3.7: Determinants of involvement in domestic work by logistic regression analysis
Marital status is an important factor that affects people to become domestic workers. In this logistic regression analysis, married women are considered as reference category. The odds ratio for the widowed or separated respondents is 1.789. That means, widowed or separated respondents are at 1.789 times higher risk of involving as domestic workers as compared with their married counterparts. It is because married women have opportunity of getting support from their husband. Whereas, widowed or separated women do not always get support from their families and they have less opportunity than those of married women.

The odds ratio of the logistic regression analysis for the age group 26‐35 years, 36‐45 years and 46+ years are 1.011, 0.889 and 1.889 respectively. It clearly implies that domestic workers of age group 26‐35 years have (1.011‐1.00)×100=1.1 percent times higher probability of joining as domestic workers than that of age group ≤ 25 years (reference category). Whereas, the respondents with age group 26‐35 years have (1.000‐0.889)×100=11.1 percent times lower and for the age group 46+ years (1.889‐1.000)×100=88.9 percent times higher risk of joining as domestic workers than the reference group. This result does not provide statistically significant result, however it is clear that aged women are at
more risk of joining in domestic work. Insufficient and limited ® indicate reference category; * ρ<0.01 and ** ρ<0.05
Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 53 54 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

Household size or total number of family members has significant impact on the women having the economic insolvency to engage in the service as domestic work. The odds ratio of the logistic regression analysis for the family with 5+ members is 1.900, where the reference category is the family with ≤4 members. The result indicates that, respondents with more household size have almost two times (1.900) higher probability to be household workers as compared to the lower household size. More family members demand more shelter, food, treatment cost, education cost and other necessary objects. This is hard to bear for needy families.

Educational status of respondent is an important determinant for the participation in work as household workers. In this logistic regression analysis, respondents who have no education are considered as reference category. The odds ratio for the one to five passed respondents is 0.498 and for the respondents having education six and above is 0.555. That means, literate respondents have almost 50 percent less probability to engage in domestic work as compared to the respondent having no education. It is evident that the uneducated women have less opportunity to engage with decent jobs except vulnerable jobs like domestic work. On the other hand, the women who have at least minimum literacy prefer to engage in garment sector than the domestic work. Moreover, illiterate women have no way to work outside domestic work.

Another influential factor to be engaged with domestic work is the occupation of husband. Considering the occupation of husband, farming or fishing or tailoring as reference category, the odds ratio of the logistic regression analysis for day labour or rickshaw or van puller is 1.126, for small shopkeeper or night guard or garment worker is 0.700 and for unemployed or physically unable or having no husband is 1.370. It clearly implies that domestic workers whose husband are day labour or rickshaw or van puller have 12.6 percent times higher probability

of joining as domestic workers than that of the reference category. Whereas, the respondents whose husbands are small shopkeeper or night guard or garment worker have 30 percent times lower and for those whose husband are unemployed or physically unable or having no husband are 37 percent times higher risk of joining as domestic workers than the reference group. This result does not provide statistically significant result. However, it is clear that when women have no way of earning that is who have no husband or whose husband are not capable of doing job, have to earn money with their capacities. In such way, they are involving themselves in informal activities mainly in domestic work. On the other hand, whose husband are small shopkeeper or night guard or garment worker do not want to send their wives to domestic work rather they are interested to send their wives in garment or in institutional work.

In the logistic regression model, the monthly income of the family of respondent between BDT 3001 and 6000 are 47.2 percent times less likely to work as domestic workers than the reference income group ≤ BDT. 3000. In case of the family’s monthly income of BDT 6001‐9000 and BDT 9001+, the respondents are 64.3 percent and 78.4 percent times less likely to work as domestic workers than the reference category. The result indicates that the respondents, whose family’s monthly income is more, have less possibility to engage in the service as domestic workers. This result is statistically significant at 5 percent level of significance.

Expenditure of family affects on the profession of people. Considering the lowest monthly expenditure group of family (≤ BDT. 3000) (out of four categories), as reference category, monthly expenditure of family between BDT 3001 and 6000 are four times more likely to be engaged as domestic workers. Whereas, family’s monthly expenditure of BDT 6001‐9000 has 1.4 times higher possibility to work as domestic workers than the reference group. In case of expenditure amount BDT 9001+, the respondents are 0.71 times less likely to work as domestic

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 55 56 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

workers. The respondents, whose monthly expenditure on family is more than BDT 9000, are less interested to join in domestic work. Whereas, respondents whose expenditure belongs to BDT. 3001‐9000, is more likely to engage in domestic work. This result is largely related with household size and the income status of respondents.

Place of residence is a significant factor that affects people to become domestic workers. In this logistic regression analysis, rural women are considered as reference category. The odds ratio for the urban respondents is 4.16. That means urban respondents are at about four times higher risk of involving as domestic workers as compared with their rural counterparts. Growing urbanisation and explosive migration from rural to urban area are raising the demand of employment in urban area. Both employer and the employees are higher in number in urban area which causes the more probability of joining the respondents from urban region into household work than that of rural respondents.

3.10 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
This chapter has documented the women domestic workers and has evaluated that women are stuck in poverty. However, limited income with whole day working along with the limited income from husband only help them to survive hand to mouth but not to improve their socio‐economic status. Women domestic workers have to work more than the women serving in the other jobs. However, they are the lowest paid employees in Bangladesh among all categories of job holders. A women domestic worker works 9 hours more in a week than a women day labourer who works in agriculture sector and 12 hours more than a women day labourer of non‐agriculture sector. About half of the woman domestic workers gets BDT 500 or less per week (the lowest amount of money among the categories) from their service.

Whereas, only 28.1 percent women day labourer in agriculture sector and a little (15.4 percent) number of women day labourer in non‐agriculture earn BDT 500 or less in a week. The noticeable thing is that, average income of a domestic worker in a week is BDT 633.94, whereas the minimum wage of a garment worker (which is also a common form of employment for less educated women) is BDT 1236.67 for the same period of working hour. Women domestic workers have to face different kinds of problems in their workplace. Late salary and salary reduction are common to them. With a little fault or the delay to complete the task creates the punishment of women domestic workers. Violence against women domestic workers is not eliminating in Bangladesh over the years. Moreover, it has increased to 78 people in 2013 than 51 people in 2001.
Over the years, literacy rate for women is increasing all over the country. However, most of the women domestic workers engaged in domestic work are without any formal education. In the study of domestic workers survey 2013, about half of the respondents are (46.7 percent) uneducated. On the other hand, women literacy rate has increased from 40.8 percent in 2001 to 48.6 percent in 2005 with a growth of 7.8 percentage points. Despite the involvement in income generating activities, 17.6 percent reported that they did not take treatment due to the shortage of money.
Economic hardship, lack of employment, landlessness, river erosion and some other reasons push them to engage in domestic work. The result of logistic regression analysis shows that marital status, total family members, education, region (place of residence) are highly significant factors, affecting the engagement in domestic work. In addition, monthly income and expenditure of family are statistically significant determinants to become domestic workers.
Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 57 58 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

 
Price hike of daily foods and commodities, and excessive house rent exerts extra pressures leaving the beyond to save money for education of child, to buy a piece of land for shelter, or to spend money for their better health. The chain of poverty is linked with the life of these domestic workers maintaining their hereditary over the years.

A law for standard minimum wage for women domestic workers should be adopted for valuing their work. Moreover, conditions of domestic work should be monitored or regulated by the government along with taking steps for eliminating oppression, including the domestic workers under Labour Law, taking steps for registration. Furthermore, self employment programmes along with training among the women for domestic tasks should be provided by the government. In addition, awareness programmes should be organised throughout the country to prevent deprivation of women domestic workers.

 

CASE STUDY

 

Mrs. Shefali Begum, works in BNP bazaar of Agargaon area in Dhaka city as a domestic worker. She is 48 years old. Her home district is in Shariatpur. After her marriage at the age of 16, she came to Dhaka city for the first time with her newly married rickshaw puller husband. And after four half years of her marriage, she has born three daughters, “gift of Allah”‐ according to her. The situation was then hard for her husband to maintain family expenses with five members from the income of single person. Economic insolvency make him bound to involve her into income generating activities. Mrs. Begum had no education to participate in a job. According to her‐ in that market of job crisis, I was not able to ask people to manage an employment for me with my illiteracy. One day, one of my neighbors gave me an opportunity to work in a household that helped me to provide financial support to my family. That was the start of my service as a household worker at the age of 22 or 23. Since then, I am working in this job. Now, I can give food to my family members but it has changed of my fortune. Limited income with whole day working along with the limited income from husband only helps them to survive from hand to mouth but not to improve their socio‐economic status.

 

 

 

 
Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 59 60 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

References
Ali, A. 2013, Informal Labour Force. Accumulation and Alienation: State of Labour in Bangladesh 2013. Dhaka: Shrabon prokashani. pp 69‐96.
Aino Salish Kendra. 2014, Aino Salish Kendra. Dhaka: Bangladesh. Available at: www.askbd.org (Accessed on 20 March 2014).
Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS). 2002, Report of the Labour Force Survey, Bangladesh‐1999‐2000. Dhaka: Planning Division, Ministry of Planning, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.

Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS). 2004, Report on the Labour Force Survey, Bangladesh 2002‐2003. Dhaka: Planning Division, Ministry of Planning, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.

Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS). 2008, Report of the Labour Force Survey, Bangladesh 2005‐2006. Dhaka: Planning Division, Ministry of Planning, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.

Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS). 2010, Informal Sector Survey 2009‐10. Dhaka: Planning Division, Ministry of Planning, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.

Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS). 2011, Report of the Labour Force Survey, Bangladesh 2010. Dhaka: Planning Division, Ministry of Planning, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.

Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS). 2011a. Report on Sample Vital Registration System (SVRS) 2010, Dhaka, Bangladesh: Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.

Coelho, K. Venkat, T. Chandrika, R. 2013, Housing, Homes and Domestic Work: A Study of Paid Domestic Workers from a Resettlement Colony in Chennai. Economic & Political Weekly. EPW. Vol xlviiI, No 43.

National Institute of Population Research and Training (NIPORT), Mitra and Associates, and ORC Macro. 2005, Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey 2004. Dhaka, Bangladesh and Calverton, Maryland [USA]: National Institute of Population Research and Training, Mitra and Associates, and ORC Macro.

National Institute of Population Research and Training (NIPORT), Mitra and Associates, and Macro International. 2009, Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey 2007. Dhaka, Bangladesh and Calverton, Maryland, USA: National Institute of Population Research and Training, Mitra and Associates, and Macro International.

National Institute of Population Research and Training (NIPORT), Mitra and Associates, and MEASURE DHS, ICF International. 2012, Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey 2011 (Preliminary Report).Dhaka, Bangladesh and Calverton, Maryland, USA: National Institute of Population Research and Training, Mitra and Associates, and MEASURE DHS, ICF International.

Neetha N. 2013, Minimum Wages for Domestic Work: Mirroring Devalued Housework. Economic & Political Weekly EPW october 26, 2013 vol xlviII no 43.

Odih, P. (ed.) 2007, Gender and Work in Capitalist Economies. England: Open University Press.

 

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 61 62 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

 

Palmer, P. 1989. Domesticity and Dirt: Housewives and Domestic Servants in the United States, 1920‐1945. Philadephia: Temple University Press.

Annex A
Figure 3.5: Nutritional status of women
Sengupta, N. and Sen, S. 2013, Bargaining over Wages: Part‐time Domestic Workers in Kolkata. Economic & Political Weekly (EPW). Vol xlviii, No 43.

 

 

Source: Authors calculation based on National Institute of Population Research and Training, Mitra and Associates, and MEASURE DHS, 2005, 2009 and 2012

Figure 3.6: Employment situation of women

 

 

 
RI stands for rate of increase

Source: Author’s calculation based on Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics 2002, 2008 and 2011

Table 3.8: Main economic activity of women

 

 
Source: Author’s calculation based on Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, 2011a

 

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 63 64 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

 

 

 

Chapter Four

DOMESTIC CHILDREN WORKERS: SERVICING FOR SURVIVAL Md. Ayub Ali

 

4.1 INTRODUCTION

This chapter focuses on how the role of participation in service of children6 as domestic workers leads to the improvement of the survival status of their family. The notable point is that parents send their child in domestic work with the hope to overcome their economic insolvency, instead of sending them to school. However, domestic children workers are not benefitted from occupational health, safety, and labour protections enjoyed by other workers in most of the countries as in Bangladesh (Aktar and Abdullah, 2013). Moreover, existing laws relevant to domestic children workers in Bangladesh are lacking both in terms of substantive provisions as well as of implementation procedure.

In recent years, socio‐demographic characteristics and working conditions of domestic children workers have been written broadly (Momen, 1993; Hoque, 1995; Rahman, 1995; RCS, 1999; SHOISHAB, 1999 and 2001; Khair, 2004; UNICEF, 2004; Baum, 2010). However, most of the previous studies in Bangladesh provide a qualitative assessment of the situation of domestic

 
6 Bangladesh defines a child as being a person under the age of 18

children workers 7 (International Labour Office, 2006). Study of ILO (2006) provides the information on the magnitude including concentration and distribution of child domestic labour, working and living conditions, and attitudes of employers towards them. Therefore, an effort is made to identify the effecting factors those involving the child in domestic work and to analyse the consequence of job on their standard of living. The chapter is organised with the current situation of domestic children workers including their health, education and employment status, life and livelihood status of domestic children workers, cause of involvement in domestic work and with some recommendations.

Domestic children workers are in the shadow (Human Rights Watch, 2009), most of them are dishonored in the workplace. In addition, a large number of child workers do not get the proper facilities from their employer, those they deserve. It is quite evident that children from disadvantageous poor families join to work as domestic workers; therefore they rarely raise voice against the society. As a consequence, domestic children workers are abused, oppressed and violated. The task of domestic child workers is difficult to monitor or regulate, since a child works inside the home of an employer. Moreover, as domestic children workers have to live away from their parents and their homes, most of the time they have no access to education, no chance of training for skill development, and no proper and adequate diet. The most important thing is that they have to miss their childhood and childhood activities, which depress them and in the future they are compelled to look for similar type of work. Therefore, this chapter intends to explore the situation of the domestic child workers of Bangladesh in order to find a clear image in formulating new policies and programmes regarding this phenomenon.

 

7 Child labour refers to all children under 18 years of age who are economically active, except (i) those who are under five years old and those between 12‐24 years old who spend less than 14 hours a week on their jobs, unless their activities or occupations are hazardous by nature or circumstances (BBS, 2002‐03a).

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 65 66 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

4.2 FEATURE OF DOMESTIC CHILDREN WORKERS
Work of children as labour is widely accepted and very common in Bangladesh. The number of working children was 7.4 million for age 5‐17 years and 4.7 million for age 5‐14 years in 2003 in Bangladesh (BBS, 2003a). Among them, child labourers of age 5‐ 17 years were 3.2 million; whereas, 1.3 million of them were engaged in hazardous labour. In 2006, 12.8 percent children at age 5‐14 were engaged in child labour at national level, whereas 19.1 percent children at same age were engaged in slum area. However, currently there is no exact figure of domestic children workers in Bangladesh. A study of UNICEF and ILO in 2007 observed that there were more than 0.4 million domestic workers in Bangladesh. The official website of Child Labour Unit of Ministry of Labour and Employment of Bangladesh shows that there are 421,000 child labourers in Bangladesh, based on the statistics of ILO 2007. However, the noteworthy fact is that the figure of domestic children workers is increasing day by day and today it has increased manifold.

4.3 PROFILE OF DOMESTIC CHILDREN WORKERS

Table 4.1: Socio‐demographic children workers
Covariates Percent Current Age
7‐10 19.0 11‐14 58.0 15‐17 23.0
Average age 12.69 years Sexual Status
Male 19.5 Female 80.5 Total 100.0

Occupation of Father

Agriculture or fishing or tailoring
Day labour/rickshaw or van puller
Small shopkeeper/night guard/garment worker Unemployed/physically unable/having no father

characteristics of domestic
Covariates Percent Educational status
No education 50.0 Up to primary 36.0 Six or above 14.0 Household Size
≤ 3 24.0 4‐5 45.6 6+ 30.4 Average household
size

Occupation of Mother
Agriculture or tailoring

Domestic workers 36.4

Garment workers 6.1

Housewife or having no mother

 

A number of characteristics influence the socio‐economic performance of domestic children workers considering the subject matter of analysis and identification of the issue related with domestic work in Bangladesh.

4.3.1 Socio‐demographic Characteristics of the Respondents
The problem regarding the domestic children workers is a socio‐ economic reality in the country which can’t be ignored. The socio‐demographic status of domestic child workers is helpful to know their current and future propensity. This section of the study aims at eliciting information on the socio‐demographic characteristics of the respondents.

Total 100.0 Total 100.0

Source: Unnayan Onneshan Field Survey, 2013
Current Age
Parents send their child in domestic work at very early age, which is not an age of work for earning. The average age of the domestic children workers is less than 13 years. Most of the respondents (58.0 percent) are in the age group of 11‐14 years who are engaged in domestic work. A significant number of them (19.0) are engaged in domestic work at age 7‐10 while only 23.0 percent respondents belong to the age group 15‐17 years. The minimum age of domestic children workers is 7 years for both male and female.

 

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 67 68 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

Sexual Status

Domestic work is the common job for female child, as the demand for female child among employer is higher than the male child. Moreover, the traditional belief is that female child is calm, disciple, easily maintainable and has no voices to protest. Among the total domestic child workers, 80.5 percent are female and the remaining 19.5 percent are male.

Educational Status

Despite the overall improvement in school enrollment in the country in the past decade, children of the poorest family are largely engaged in child domestic work and remained deprived from the opportunities of education. About half of domestic children workers have never been enrolled in schools (Table 4.1). Although about 50 percent of the domestic child workers had ever been to schools. Dropout before completing primary education is quite high (36 percent). Only 14 percent of domestic children workers could complete five or more years of schooling.

Household Size
Large family size of poverty‐stricken family may be a push factor for children to migrate from home to work as domestic children workers. When parents are unable to feed and take proper care of their children, they often encourage the children to leave home and to work for survival. The average household size of domestic child workers is 5.34 (Table 4.1). Most of the respondents (45.6 percent) have their household size of 4‐5 members whereas, 30.4 percent have their household size of 6 and above members. The lowest number of respondents (24.0 percent) belongs to the group of family members of 3 or less.

Education of Father and Mother8

Most of the children have come from uneducated family to work as domestic workers. About four‐fifths of fathers of domestic child workers have no formal education, whereas 13.8 percent of them have some primary level education, and only 7.1 percent have beyond primary level education (Figure 4.1). On the other hand, about three‐fourths of mothers of domestic child workers have no formal education, where as 16.8 percent have some primary level education, and only 8.1 percent have beyond primary level education.

Figure 4.1: Educational status of father and mother

 

 

 

 

 

 
Source: Unnayan Onneshan Field Survey, 2013
Despite the increment of adult literacy rate, the status of education of the parents of domestic children workers is in lowest position. The fact is that literacy rate for woman has increased from 40.8 percent in 2001 to 48.6 percent in 2005 with a growth of 7.8 percentage points (Figure 4.2). After the next five
8 A number of children who are working as domestic worker have no father or mother. This section is calculated only for those who have father or mother.

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 69 70 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

year of 2005, this literacy rate has increased to 55.4 percent in 2010 from 48.6 percent in 2005 with a growth of 6.8 percentage points. On the other hand, literacy rate for man has increased from 53.9 percent in 2001 to 58.3 percent in 2005 with a growth of 4.4 percentage points (Figure 4.2). After the next five year (between 2005 and 2010), this literacy rate has increased to 62.9 percent in 2010 from 58.3 percent in 2005 with a growth of 4.6 percentage points.

Figure 4.2: Adult literacy rate of population (15+ years)

 

 

 

 

 

 
Source: Author’s calculation based on Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, 2011a

Occupation of Father and Mother
The percentages of the domestic children workers whose father is unemployed or physically disable or who does not have father are highest (53.2 percent), as compared to the respondents whose father is day labourer or rickshaw or van puller (30.4 percent), Small shopkeeper or night guard or garment worker (11.1 percent) and agriculture or fishing or tailoring (5.0 percent) (Table 4.1). It is also apparent that the mothers of domestic child workers are engaged in agriculture or tailoring (4.0 percent), domestic work (36.4 percent), garment work (6.1 percent) and

more than half of the respondent’s mothers (53.2 percent) are housewives or does not have mother.

4.4 JOB RESPONSIBILITY AND WORKING CONDITIONS
Job responsibility and the working conditions are important to know the real conditions about domestic child workers.

4.4.1 Job Responsibility
The domestic children workers perform heavy and responsible jobs as compared with their age. Most of them are engaged to do multiple tasks. Since most of the respondents are female, cooking, cleaning and washing are the most common tasks to them for both urban and rural workers. There appears to have some variation in the type of work that domestic children workers perform in rural and urban localities. The rural children have to care of livestock (6.7 percent) as domestic work whereas the workers from urban area are out of this job. On the other hand, domestic children workers of urban residence (5.9 percent) perform car washing whereas the workers from rural area are out of this job.

Moreover, the most common jobs that domestic children workers perform in rural locality are cooking, cleaning and washing (30.7 percent); cleaning and washing (26.0 percent); child care, cleaning and washing (15.3 percent); cooking, child care, cleaning, washing and laundry (6.0 percent); cooking, cleaning, washing and laundry (6.0 percent); cooking / cooking assistant (4.0 percent); cooking, cleaning, washing and shopingh (2.0 percent). In urban locality, domestic children workers also perform similar activities; however child care is the most frequent job for the domestic children workers, which is remarkable.
Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 71 72 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

Table 4.2: Job responsibility by region

Types of job responsibility Rural Urban

Car washing 0.0 5.9 Care of livestock 6.7 0.0 Cooking / Cooking assistant 4.0 6.3 Cleaning and Washing 26.0 13.4 Cooking, Cleaning and Washing 30.7 49.0 Child care, Cleaning and Washing 15.3 4.5 Cleaning, washing and laundry 4.0 2.6 Cooking, child care, cleaning, washing and
laundry

Cooking, cleaning, washing & shopping 2.0 4.9

Cooking, cleaning, washing and laundry 6.0 11.2

Total 100.0 100.0

Source: Unnayan Onneshan Field Survey, 2013

4.4.2 Length of Working Hours
A significant number (12.0 percent) of domestic child workers have no fixed timeframe for work, which is a violation of rights. Moreover, a child domestic worker, on an average, works 9 hours and 30 minutes per day; whereas, a woman domestic worker works on an average of 9 hours daily (Figure 4.3).

Figure 4.3: Working hours of domestic children workers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Unnayan Onneshan Field Survey, 2013

In this study, 57.5 percent domestic child workers work more than 9 hours per day whereas, 53.1 percent women domestic workers work more than 9 hours per day. Study also reveals that, only 2.0 percent respondents reportedly working for 1 to 4 hours, 28.5 percent work for 5 to 8 hours, the highest number of respondents (43.6 percent) work for 9 to 12 hours and 13.9 percents works for more than 13 hours per day.

4.4.3 Leave Facility
Most of domestic children workers (87.0 percent) have reported that they are not allowed for weekly leave, which is a violation of rights of a worker (Figure 4.4). Only 13.0 percent of them get the facility to take the leave in a week. The well‐known fact is that women also work without getting the facility of taking leave. However, the condition of child is worst among other domestic workers. This situation is almost same for in both urban and rural area. Majority (42.5 percent) of domestic children workers have said that they are not allowed for leisure period at day.

Figure 4.4: Leave facility of domestic child workers

 

 

 

 

 

 
Source: Unnayan Onneshan Field Survey, 2013

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 73 74 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

4.4.4 Force to work during sickness
Children face more injustice in household work, even during the period of their sickness. About four of every ten child reported to have worked during sickness whereas female domestic child workers are 44.0 percent and male are 32.0 percent.

Table 4.4: Force to work during sickness

Force to work during All child Male child Female child

sickness

Yes 38.0 32.0 44.0

No 62.0 68.0 66.0

Total 100.0 100.0 100.0

Source: Unnayan Onneshan Field Survey, 2013
4.5 WAGES OF DOMESTIC CHILD WORKERS
Although the domestic children workers work longer hours and perform labourious job everyday, 28.7 percent of them do not receive any monthly wages. About one‐fourth of the respondents receive BDT 1‐1000, one‐third receive BDT 1001‐2000 and only 10.5 percent receive BDT 2001 and above (Table 4.5). A domestic child worker receives on average BDT 1185.00 per month. Those who work in urban households receive higher wages than those works in rural households.

Table 4.5: Wages of domestic child workers

Category Percent Male Female Urban Rural No wages 28.7 38.5 61.5 18.0 82.0 BDT 1‐1000 41.3 42.0 58.0 45.0 55.0 BDT 1001‐2000 29.5 50.1 49.9 49.7 50.3
BDT 2001+ 10.5 62.0 38.0 63.0 37.0

Source: Unnayan Onneshan Field Survey, 2013
Moreover, the boys earn more than the girls as domestic workers. This study reveals that higher proportion of domestic children

workers works without any wage in rural localities and most of them are female (Table 4.5). About 82 percent work without any wage in rural area, whereas this proportion is 18 percent in urban area. In case of sexual differentiation, about 82 percent female work without any wage, whereas this proportion is 18 percent male child labour.

4.6 ADVANTAGES OF CHILD DOMESTIC WORK
About 50 percent of domestic children workers have reported that they do not see any advantage in doing domestic work. More than 50 percent reported about certain advantages. The most common advantage of working as domestic children workers is getting help in emergency situation (14.5 percent), followed by security/safety (11.0 percent), good food (9.5 percent) and cloths (8.0 percent). Help in emergency situation is the advantage of domestic work among thinking of 6.0 percent children. Whereas, 3.5 percent think that working as domestic children workers gives them scope to watch television. This situation is common for male and female domestic children workers.

Table 4.6: Advantages of child domestic work
Categories Male Female All
No advantage 46.0 48.0 47.0 Help in emergency 16.0 13.0 14.5 situation
Occasional lump‐sum 7.5 4.5 6.0 money
Security/safety 10.0 12.0 11.0 Good food 9.0 10.0 9.5 Watch TV 3.0 4.0 3.5 Clothes 8.0 8.0 8.0
Others 0.5 0.5 0.5
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0
Source: Unnayan Onneshan Field Survey, 2013
Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 75 76 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

4.7 RECREATION AND PERSONAL FREEDOM
Children are excluded from recreation due to their participation at work as domestic workers. Moreover, a large number of domestic children workers do not have personal freedom, especially the female. Since the female child are more compliant than the male child and since the female children have less opportunity to go outside the home, so the exclusion among female is more than the male domestic workers regarding recreation and personal freedom. More than 50 percent domestic child workers have reported that they have no recreational facilities (Table 4.7). In case of male domestic children workers, 55.0 percent get the recreational facility, whereas 43.0 percent of female domestic child workers have this facility.

In case of spontaneous movement and communication, 68.0 percent of male domestic child workers have this opportunity whereas only 48.0 percent of female domestic child workers have the same opportunity. On the other hand, almost 70 percent of the domestic children workers reported that they have the freedom to leave the present job if they wish to do so.

Table 4.7: Recreation and personal freedom

All Male Female

Recreation

4.8 VIOLENCE AGAINST DOMESTIC CHILD WORKERS
Domestic child workers are constantly at risk of losing their jobs, which makes them more vulnerable to sexual abuse, violence and criminalisation. The exact level of violence against domestic child workers is either not available or hidden. However, they are often expected to work for long hours, which are subjected to their grueling conditions and health hazards. Physical punishment is quite common for the domestic child workers. Moreover, employers subject many of them to torture, forced labour, denial of food, psychological abuse, isolation, restraints and sexual assaults that affects the lives of domestic child workers. In this study, forced labour, mental torture and physical punishment are common violence against domestic child workers. Almost two of every 10 of them have the experienced these types of violence whereas, 14.5 percent are psychologically abused, 11.5 percent are denied of food and 8.5 percent are isolated from families (Figure 4.5). Moreover, 2.5 percent of domestic child workers have had experienced restraints and 1.0 percent is sexually assaulted. Violence against domestic child workers occurs due to their impoverishment and social marginalisation.

Figure 4.5: Violence against domestic children workers

Yes 49.0 55.0 43.0 No 51.0 45.0 57.0 Spontaneous movement and communication
Yes 58.0 68.0 48.0 No 42.0 32.0 52.0 Whether have freedom to leave this job
Yes 70.0 68.0 72.0 No 30.0 32.0 28.0
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0

Source: Unnayan Onneshan Field Survey, 2013 Source: Unnayan Onneshan Field Survey, 2013
Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 77 78 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

 

Domestic children workers are in the worst situation, derived from the violence, as compared to other domestic workers. About 70 percent domestic children workers were reported as physically tortured out of 23 domestic workers who have experienced the same violence (Figure 4.6).

Children are physically and mentally weaker than the aged people, for which the effect of torture against domestic children workers is more pathetic as compared to other domestic workers. Study reveals that, 77.55 percent are children among the 49 domestic workers who died due to different kinds of violence whereas four domestic workers of every nine died due to physical torture are child (Figure 4.6). Moreover, 33 domestic workers and 22 domestic children workers died and these incidents were not reported.

The rate of committing suicide among the child is also higher than the aged domestic workers. There are 5 domestic children workers among the total of 6 domestic workers who committed suicide due to violence.

Figure 4.6: Death of domestic children workers due to violence

 

 

 

 

 

 

* Death (Form of violence not mentioned); ** Death from physical torture *** Rape or attempt to rape
Source: Ain O Salish Kendra (2014)

4.9 CAUSES OF INVOLVEMENT IN DOMESTIC WORK
The children have more demand as domestic workers, since they are easily disciplined, hold almost no voice for themselves and cheaper to hire than adult workers. Despite the fact that domestic workers are generally deprived of the opportunity of education and other facilities that a child deserve, the involvement of children as domestic workers is available in Bangladesh. Several causes are associated with the involvement of children in domestic work which are discussed below:
Economic Insolvency of Family
Economic insolvency of family is a contributing factor to children being pushed into the labour force. Many families rely on the income earned by their children for survival. The result shows that about 70 percent children engaged themselves in domestic work due to the economic insolvency of their family (Table 4.8). The National Child Labour Elimination Policy, 2010 also identified economic hardship as the leading and most important reason behind children involved in working.

Landlessness

Decreasing land at rural area are convincing people to migrate from rural to urban region. However, living cost in urban area, lack of education and shortage of skill push a people enter into informal activity. When the affordability goes beyond of people, then they send their child to work as domestic workers. Study shows that 3.8 percent child in Bangladesh are engaged in domestic work as the landlessness of family (Table 4.8).

Uncertainty of Job
Many parents in our society fear that if their children do not get any job in future, they may get involved in anti‐social activities. For this reason they try to find an occupation for their children. Due to the uncertainty of job, 6.5 percent children are sent to work as domestic workers.

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 79 80 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

Lack of Awareness and Embedded Tradition

Lack of awareness and the firmly established tradition also play an important role to prolong child domestic work. Indeed, most of the parents are unaware about the harmful effects of domestic children workers on the progress of a child. Most of the guardian neither understand nor try to realise that if their children enter work force without acquiring education, the lack of basic schooling won’t give them any opportunity to find good jobs when they attain majority. Again because of the embedded tradition some parents think that their children will earn from early ages and will contribute to the family funds. In this study, 6.7 percent children reported that they are working domestic work following the tradition of either their father or mother.

Lack of Education of the Parents, especially of Mothers

The parents do not understand the long term effects of child work, as such they put pressure on their child to work instead of going to school, when parents feel to increase their family budget due to the lack of education. In this regard the study has found that the entire domestic children workers obtained support of their mothers whose educational level is up to primary schooling.

Ignorance and Misconceptions
These myths endure because of a general ignorance about the conditions faced by many domestic children workers, which results from a lack of monitoring and inquiry by the government into the lives of domestic children workers, and from continuing discriminatory attitudes about the role of girls and women in society. Dismissive attitudes and misconceptions can be a key impediment to the enforcement of existing laws, and are a serious obstacle to the creation and implementation of better regulations and policies.

people in our country employ children violating the labour laws, but there is no punishment for such violation. Though this is not a cause of domestic children workers, but this non‐ implementation is encouraging the employers to use child in heavy and exploitative work.

Miscellaneous factors

Besides the above reasons, many children engage in work in order to supplement the family income and the parents do not even restrict them. They see nothing abnormal in working at an early age. Further, due to the internal migration that takes place from one place to another within the country, many parents fall into hard financial crisis which also lead their children to go to work for survival. Decreasing rate of budgetary allocation on social security program and inadequate recreational infrastructure also engages many children in work. Furthermore, insufficiency of schools, poor curriculum, absence of proper nursing and care of pupils by the teachers, lack of usefulness of education for their survival and profession and the long time needed for education also lead some children to begin work at an early age.

Table 4.8: Causes of involvement in domestic work

Main causes Percent Economic insolvency of family 69.9 Landlessness of family 3.8 Uncertainty of job 6.5 Parent sent for earning more 7.2 Parent worked here 6.7 No earning member in family 2.4
Familyʹs economic insolvency and uncertainty of job
Inadequate Legislation
The existing rules and regulations in Bangladesh against the child labour do not cover the domestic workers. Moreover, many

Total 100.0

Source: Unnayan Onneshan Field Survey, 2013

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 81 82 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

4.10 FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH THE CAUSES OF INVOLVEMENT IN DOMESTIC WORK

Table 4.9: Association between causes of involvement in
domestic by different covariates

 

Domestic work is considered as dishonoured job, though a large number of people have engaged themselves in this service. From several reasons, economic insolvency, uncertainty of job, landlessness and tend to follow the job of parents have found as the most contributing factors in the study of domestic workers survey 2013. Therefore, an attempt has been made to find out the association between the cause of involvement in domestic work and other socio‐demographic covariates (Table 4.9) by using the Pearson’s chi‐square test. The formula is‐
2 ∑∑Oij2 −N ; with (r‐1) (c‐1) degrees of the freedom. i1 j1

Where, Oij and Eij are the observed and expected number of respondents in the (i,j) th cell respectively. (Details of the contingency analysis is given in 2.9.2 section of the Methodology chapter.)
Result of the statistical test shows that the sexual status, household size, occupation of mother and place of residence of the domestic workers are highly significant with the causes of involvement in domestic work. That means, these covariates have strong associations with the causes of participation in domestic work; whereas, education and occupational status of father of domestic children workers are statistically significant with the causes of engagement in domestic work.

Covariates

 

Sexual Status*

Male

Female

Household size*

≤ 3 persons

4‐5 persons

6+ persons

Education of father**

No education

One to five

Six and above

Education of mother

No education

One to five

Economic Uncertainty Following Landlessness insolvency of job parents’ job

 

48.9 62.8 32.6 54.8

51.1 37.2 67.4 45.2

 

10.0 11.5 10.5 15.0

35.6 37.5 36.9 40.5

54.4 51.0 52.6 44.5

 

38.0 25.0 45.0 33.0

37.0 37.0 30.0 32.0

25.0 38.0 25.0 35.0

 

48.0 25.0 53.5 45.0

37.0 38.0 36.1 44.5

Six and above 15.0 37.0 10.4 10.5

Occupation of father**

Agriculture or 10.0 30.0 … 16.0 fishing or tailoring

Day labour or 35.0 13.0 … 30.5 rickshaw or van
puller
Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 83 84 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

 

Small shopkeeper 13.0 37.0 … 16.5 or night guard or
garment worker

Unemployed or 42.0 21.0 … 37.0 physically unable
or having no father

Occupation of mother*

Agriculture or 18.0 26.5 … 15.0 tailoring

Domestic workers 40.0 27.5 … 45.0

Garment worker 9.3 21.0 … 7.3

Housewife or 32.7 25.0 … 32.7 having no mother

Place of residence*

Rural 59.0 39.0 52.0 70.0

Urban 41.0 61.0 48.0 30.0

Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Note: * ρ<0.01 and ** ρ<0.05
Sexual status is an important factor for the involvement in domestic work. Employers often prefer to employ girls because they are cheaper and considered to be more compliant, disciple, calm and obedient than boys. More girls are involved in domestic work following the profession of parents (67.4 percent) as compared to the boys (32.6 percent), whereas, more boys are involved in domestic work due to the uncertainty of job (62.8 percent) than their female counterpart (37.2 percent). On the other hand, children are engaged in domestic work due to the economic insolvency and landlessness has same percentage for boys and girls.

Household size is closely related to the involvement of family members in domestic work. In case of more household size, the respondents face the challenge of livelihood. The notable thing is that the family consisted of more than six members need more food, housing, sanitation, cloths etc. which are not always available to them. Members of this type of family deserve less literacy and deserve poor capacity to engage in a decent job. As a result, they do not have the opportunity to face the challenge of decent job market. Therefore, children from a large household size are influenced more to join in domestic work as compared to the children from small household size. In this study, more than fifty percent child whose household size consisted with 6 and more members have engaged in domestic work, and reported that they are pushed in this work because of economic insolvency.
Educational status of people helps them to decide for the involvement in job market. In case of father who have completed education six and above, are more conscious about the future job condition of child than the father who have no education. Therefore, they send their child for domestic work. On the other hand, uneducated father send their children in domestic services due to the economic insolvency of family. The notable thing is that more than fifty percent uneducated mother (53.5 percent) send their children in domestic services as they do the same job. About fifty percent mothers who have no education send their child in domestic work due to their economic insolvency.

Occupation is also a contributing factor that helps the people to engage in domestic work. The children who have no father or whose father is either unemployed or physically disabled have engaged more in domestic work than the children whose father is engaged in others job. Report also reveals that 42.0 percent children of these families join to work as domestic workers due to economic insolvency, 28.0 percent for uncertainty of job, and 37.0 percent for their landlessness. Whereas, children from a family whose father’s occupation is agriculture or fishing or tailoring

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 85 86 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

 

have joined in domestic work for the cause of economic insolvency (10.0 percent), due to uncertainty of job (30.0 percent) and due to landlessness (16.0 percent). Moreover, children from a family whose father is a day labour or rickshaw or van puller have joined in domestic work for the cause of economic insolvency (35.0 percent), due to uncertainty of job (13.0 percent) and due to landlessness (30.5 percent). In case of children from a family whose father is a small shopkeeper or night guard or garment worker have joined in domestic work for the cause of economic insolvency (13.0 percent), due to uncertainty of job (30.0 percent) and due to landlessness (16.5 percent).

Occupation of mother is also important factor for the child involving in the domestic work. A large number of children who have no mother or whose mother is housewife have engaged in domestic work. The children from a family whose mother is a domestic worker have joined in domestic work for the cause of economic insolvency (38.0 percent), due to uncertainty of job (27.5 percent) and due to landlessness (45.0 percent). Whereas, children from a family whose mother’s occupation is agriculture or tailoring have joined in domestic work for the cause of economic insolvency (18.0 percent), due to uncertainty of job (26.5 percent) and due to landlessness (15.0 percent). Children of garment workers have lowest involvement in domestic work.

The causes of involvement of child in domestic work vary according to the place of residence. Most of the children from rural residence (70.0 percent) have engaged in domestic work whereas only 30.0 percent of them are the residence of urban area. On the other hand, six children of every 10 from urban residence have joined in domestic work whereas four children of every 10 of them are from rural residence.

4.11 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
In Bangladesh, domestic children workers have evolved from traditional and previously unchallenged social practices. To improve the daily livelihood status of family parents pushes their child for domestic working, which is not an organised job sector. However, domestic work of children is temporarily solving their financial problem and fulfilling their provisional needs but in the long term they are stuck in poverty. They are becoming unskilled and most of the time they are growing as uneducated future generation. In addition, they are physically, psychologically, socially and economically depressed and undermined due to their lack of proper education, housing and socio‐economic status. Sometimes, violance against domestic children workers send them to end their life.

Average age of child in participating domestic work is less than 13 years. That means, very early age the child are engaged to economic activity. The entire domestic children workers are engaged in domestic work to improve the survival status of their family, however almost 50 percent of them have reported that they do not see any advantage of working domestic work. Similar numbers of domestic children workers have reported that they have no recreational facility in their workplace and 87.0 percent of them are not allowed for weekly leave. In case of spontaneous movement and communication more than 50 percent female domestic children workers do not have this facility, whereas 68.0 percent male domestic children workers have this opportunity.

A domestic child worker, on an average, daily works 9 hours and 30 minutes; whereas, 12.0 percent have to work from early morning to mid‐night and have no fixed timeframe. Moreover, 57.5 percent domestic children workers work more than 9 hours per day. Although the domestic children workers work longer hours every day, 28.7 percent of them do not receive any monthly wages; whereas the average earnings of domestic children

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 87 88 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

 

workers are only BDT 1185.00 per month. Moreover, more than 70 percent domestic children workers earn only BDT 66.67 per day which is insufficient and poor amount of money for daily survivorship. Those who work in rural households receive lowest wages than those works in urban households. Due to their impoverishment and social marginalisation, domestic children workers are in the worst situation of violence in the workplace as compared with the other domestic workers. The finding is that 70 percent of domestic children workers are reported as physically tortured and 80 percent are raped in the workplace among all the domestic workers who have experienced the same violence.

Despite the deprivation, discrimination and violence against domestic children workers, they exist in Bangladesh due to socio‐ economic and demographic phenomenon. On the other hand, child as domestic worker is popular among middle class society in this country. Therefore, a contractual regime through third party can reduce the devaluation and discrimination against domestic workers. Moreover, since the domestic children workers are in the worst form of rights as a labour, a guarantee of their rights such as a written contract, a minimum wage, overtime, a weekly day of rest, an eighth our workday, rest periods during the day, national holidays, vacation, paid sick leave, compensation for workers, and social security is must. Moreover, minimum conditions of housing arrangements, provision of food, and freedom of movement and communication should be provided to them. As regards their age, the minimum age of domestic workers will be 15. In case of 12 to 14 years age, children might be considered for “light work” and up to three hours a day, and prioritise them for removal and recovery assistance to help them rebuild their lives.

Proper legislation regarding domestic workers and its timely implementation is more important to reduce the violence against domestic children workers, since they are in the worst situation of violence in the workplace.

References
Ain O Salish Kendra, A Legal Aid and Human Rights organization. (Personal Communication, 20 March 2014).

Aktar, S. and Abdullah, A. S. M. 2013, Protecting Child Labour in Bangladesh: Domestic Laws versus International Instruments. Bangladesh e‐Journal of Sociology. Vol 10 (1), pp 153‐172.

Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), 2002‐2003a, Report on National Child Labour Survey. Dhaka: Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.

Baum, N. 2010, Girl Domestic Labour in Dhaka: Exploitation and Humiliation. The Worst Forms of Child Labour in Asia: Main findings from Bangladesh and Nepal. The Netherlands: IREWOC.

BBS/ UNICEF, 2007, Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2006. Dhaka: Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.

Child Labour Unit of Ministry of Labour and Employment of Bangladesh (http://www.clu‐mole.gov.bd/node/5; Accessed on April 10, 2014).

Hoque, M (ed.). 1995, Child Domestic Work in Dhaka: A Study of the Exploitative Situation. Dhaka: Save the Children Fund Australia & Anti‐Slavery International London.

Human Rights Watch. 2009, Workers in the Shadows: Abuse and Exploitation of Domestic child workers in Indonesia. Indonesia: Human Rights Watch.

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 89 90 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination
International Labour Office, 2006, Baseline Survey on Child Annex‐B Domestic Labour (CDL) in Bangladesh. Dhaka: International
Labour Office.
Khair, S. 2004, Bangladesh Domestic Child Workers in Dhaka City: Situation Analysis. Dhaka: International Labour Office.

Momen, M.A. 1993, Case Studies on Abuse and Exploitation of Children in Domestic Service in Bangladesh (Dhaka City). Dhaka: Bangladesh Shishu Adhika Forum‐BSAF.

Rahman, H. 1995, Domestic child workers: Is Servitude the Only Option? Dhaka: Shoishab Bangladesh.

RCS. 1999, Prevailing Opinion and Attitude Towards Child Domestics. Dhaka: Research and Computing Services Private Limited (RCS) for UNICEF.

SHOISHAB. 1999, A Quantitative Study on Domestic child workers in Dhaka Metropolitan City 1998‐99. Dhaka: Shoishab Bangladesh (with financial support from Save the Children UK)

SHOISHAB. 2001, Case Study on Domestic child workers of Dhaka Metropolitan City. Dhaka: Shoishab Bangladesh.

UNICEF. 2004, Situation Analysis of Domestic child workers in Dhaka City. Dhaka: UNICEF Bangladesh.

 

 

 

 
Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 91 92 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

 

 

 

Chapter Five

MIGRANT DOMESTIC WORKERS Md. Al Amin Islam

 

5.1 INTRODUCTION
This chapter explores the situation of migrant workers engaged in domestic work in terms of their demographic and socio‐ economic state and concentrates on the areas regarding fundamental rights which emerged as the most relevant for migrant domestic workers in an irregular situation. These include fair working conditions along with fair pay, working hours, number of working house, and issues relating to family life.

Often, domestic workers are migrant women who hail from some most underprivileged regions. Through their own informal, word‐of‐mouth networks they migrate to cities and seek jobs in urban households where they are working and living a considerable distance away from their known community and environment. Paid domestic work, however, confuses and complicates the conceptual divide between formal and informal labour, family and work, custom and contract, affection and duty, the home and the world (Ray & Qayum 2003). Typically, women domestic workers of Bangladesh today continue to live and work in the senses that are best characterised by inequity, as well as a reprehensible precariousness. In Bangladesh, the attitude and concept towards domestic workers is deeply entrenched in the feudal practice of keeping servants. Domestic workers are not

perceived or treated as service providers; rather they hold a subservient position clearly “below” their employers. The relationship between the employer and employee is thus characterised by a highly unequal with the latter having little power to negotiate equitable employment terms. The nature of their work demands that they not only sell their labour power but also their personhood, paid domestic workers fall in the ʺproblematic analytical space that exists between the body as personhood and the body as propertyʺ (Anderson 2000). Moreover, migrant domestic workers are at heightened risk of varying degrees of exploitation and abuse, including sexual abuse. In practice, illness, accidents or pregnancy of the migrant workers often lead to job loss.

As physical and social transaction, migration is also an instrument of cultural diffusion and social integration. This is an equilibrating adjustment mechanism that shifts underemployed and unemployed labourers from local labour market to areas where they could be fully employed. Therefore, migration is an activity which requires resources. The root causes/factors related to why migrants are attracted to come and sometimes compelled to leave their region receive as much attention. From the past and so of today, migration has been an important demographic, social, economic, and cultural process linking communities, regions, and nations. Being an important element in social and economic change, migration helps to maintain a traditional economy and a conservative society. Yet the significance is easily underestimated. Domestic workers are hired specifically so that middle class women can enter ʺproductive employmentʺ and have someone else do the type of work that they would not do themselves (Rollins 1985). The higher the number of affluent middle and upper classes in the country, the more important the domestic service sector (Tokman 2010).

The chapter also examines the motivations, conditions and experiences of Bangladeshi migrant domestic workers who have

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 93 94 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

worked in and returned from other parts of the world in the context of the raging debate on migration and development. The study interviews three returned migrant workers in this regard. The research probes into the life of respondents as migrant workers abroad and their life today in Bangladesh after their return.

5.2 MIGRANT AND NON‐MIGRANT DOMESTIC WORKERS

Migration plays a vital and indispensable role in the national economy and initially reduces unemployment. Migration also increases the purchasing power of the people. About 70 percent of the total domestic workers are migrants and rest of the workers are non‐migrant. Migration to the urban areas can be caused by some natural and economic factors like flood and river bank erosion, poverty, unemployment, population and social inequality.

Figure 5.1: Migrant and Non‐Migrant Domestic Workers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Source: Unnayan Onneshan Field Survey, 2013

Obviously, most of the rural population has chosen not to migrate. Asked why they have not chosen to move, a variety of answers were received. Many are heads of the households (mostly women), who have the ultimate responsibility for the management of the household. There are others who have social obligation such as taking care of old parents and young children. Some remain for fear that absence from the household would negate their chances of inheriting. Others said that they would not like to leave their land fallow and that the present agriculture practice is reliable, secure and economically viable. Further, they could also earn cash income through sale of surplus farm produce.

5.3 GENERAL PROFILE OF MIGRANT DOMESTIC WORKERS

The percent of female migrant is far above the ground as for male and shows a higher statistics as compared with the male counterparts, since domestic work is usually considered as a work of women or girl. 89.8 percent of the total migrant workers are female who migrated and engaged themselves as domestic workers. During the field survey, observed that most of the domestic workers (25.5 percent) are of aged 40‐49 years. The second highest portion lies in the age group 30‐39 years and the followings are of less equal 20, 20‐29 and 50 and above age group. The number of migrant domestic workers is 21.1 percent at age group less equal 20 and shows a lower statistics (18.0 percent) at age group 20‐29. Starting from the age group 20‐29, the percent of respondents who engage themselves in domestic work is increasing up to the age group 40‐49. The reason for this growing trend of involving in domestic work with their increasing age is enlarging their family members by their children and thereafter for fulfilling their rising demands. The percent of respondents whose family contain 4‐6 members is high (55.8 percent) among those of having less equal 3 and 7 and above family members. Domestic workers having education on class I‐V, is high than

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 95 96 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

 

those of having no education and class VI and above. Having education of class I‐V of the most domestic workers is the result of investment in the education sector as well as NGOs’ involvement in assisting the government of Bangladesh to meet the goals; universalisation of primary education as well as the elimination of the gender and poverty‐gaps related to primary education. Most domestic workers are married followed by unmarried, widowed and separated.

Table 5.1: General Profile of The Migrant Domestic Workers
Sex
Percent
Male 10.2 Unitary 83.1 Female 89.8 Join 16.9
Age
Percent
no urban to rural migration. A consistent scenario has been found for female counterparts except in case of urban to rural migration. A very fewer (0.30 percent) has taken part in urban to rural migration process. The process of rural to urban migration is placed at the top both for male and female. The reasons for which more people (including male and female) migrated from rural to urban areas become a noticeable issue in the society today. Like a paradox, while the urban areas are increasing in population, the rural areas are decreasing. One of the factors that are responsible for rural to urban migration is lack of adequate social amenities and facilities in the rural areas. Inadequate jobs in the rural areas also make many to migrate to the urban areas that can provide better opportunities for them. Rural to urban migration has negative consequences. Rural to urban migration slows down the rate of development of the rural areas.
Less equal 20 20‐29
30‐39 40‐49
50 and above

21.4 Unmarried 23.9
18.0 Married 60.6 Figure 5.2: Migration Process of Domestic Workers by Sex

23.9 Widowed 9.4 25.5 Separated 6.2
11.3

 

Educational Backdrop
Percent

 

Total Family Members
Percent

 
No education Class I‐V
Class VI and above

36.5 Less equal 3 19.6 51.7 4‐6 55.8
11.8 7 and above 24.7

Source: Unnayan Onneshan Field Survey, 2013
5.4 MIGRATION PROCESS OF DOMESTIC WORKERS IN BANGLADESH

Spatial distribution of population through rural‐urban migration is considered as an important aspect in the process of economic growth and development either for rural or urban area or both. A major part of the male domestic workers (92.11 percent) has migrated from rural to urban. Among the rest (7.89 percent), some are migrated from rural to rural, some, urban to urban which is 5.26 percent and 2.63 percent respectively and there is

 

Source: Unnayan Onneshan Field Survey, 2013
5.5 INCOME INEQUALITIES BETWEEN RURAL AND URBAN

The rural‐urban income gap is one of the responsible factors for a high volume of rural‐urban migration. Income depends on the

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 97 98 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

 

type of domestic work, number of houses serviced, and a host of other factors. The income of urban domestic workers is 1.19 times higher than those of their rural counterparts (UO Field Survey, 2013). Almost 45.24 percent of the interviewed domestic workers of urban area earn more than BDT 2000 per month, whereas it is only 36 percent in rural area. Furthermore, only 3.71 percent of the rural domestic workers work at monthly income of more than BDT 4000. But in urban areas, the number of workers who earn more than BDT 4000 is 6.22 times higher than that of rural area. Job unavailability in rural area, income differential between rural and urban etc are highly responsible factors for the situation.

Wages for domestic workers in Bangladesh vary minimally from locality to locality and their remuneration is lower than those of received by other labours. Domestic work of Bangladesh is yet to be included in the purview of state‐specific minimum wage legislation. Long, unregulated work hours and no formal benefits for domestic workers like vacation days, sick days, holidays, maternity leave or social security (e.g. pensions or insurance) have exacerbated the burden of low wages. The few attempts to address this gap have been poorly executed.

Figure 5.3: Monthly Income of Respondent by Region

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Unnayan Onneshan Field Survey, 2013

5.6 ECONONOMIC PROFILE OF THE MIGRANT DOMESTIC WORKERS

The economic characteristic of an individual or a group of individuals is generally related to income, expenditure, and the balance between income and expenditure i.e., savings. While individual income comes into consider, notified that the monthly income of the largest part of the respondent is less equal BDT 1500. It arrests 32.4 percent of the total respondent followed by 29.8 percent whose monthly income is BDT 1501‐3000. Monthly BDT 3001‐4500 is earned by only 19.8 percent of respondents. The income of residuals, the lower part (only 18.0 percent) of migrant domestic workers, lies on BDT 4501 and above. The average monthly income of the respondents is BDT 2886 where as it is BDT 7753 when it is calculated for the family. A visible issue is that, more than one third (37.22 percent) of the family’s monthly income comes from the contribution of a domestic workers. Due to price hike of daily necessary commodities resulting from rising trend of inflation (both food and non‐food inflation); the monthly income and expenditure of the respondents’ family are almost equal. So, managing their livelihoods with their low level of income becomes a predicament fact for the respondents. Soaring trend of monthly expenditure against their monthly income have resulted in hampering the balance between spending and saving. Most of the study respondents have failed in setting aside enough money to cover their basic living expenses for the future or for use in the event of an emergency, such as receiving unexpected medical bills or losing their job. Their average monthly savings is about only BDT 439 which is not enough to face an emergency situation. Average savings does not always mean that monthly savings of each of all respondents is exactly same. Some of them have some, someone has nothing rest to save or someone has to borrow from someone else or take loan from various organisations for maintaining the cost livelihoods. Observing the monthly income or expenditure of the family, the notable fact is that 45.3 percent of families expense near about BDT 6000 in a

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 99 100 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

 

month, whereas the number of family whose monthly income lies on that expenditure group is 43.2 percent. Hence it can be supposed that, the families whose monthly income is less equal BDT 6000 cannot afford to handle their monthly living cost with such low level of income. The same scenario has also been found in the next following stage. So, most of the respondents cannot find any way but take loan or borrow money from others for managing the extra cost needed for their livelihood. But families whose monthly income is above BDT 10000 can lead their life at more or less satisfactory level. Only 23.1 percent of families earn above BDT 10000 per month.

Table 5.2: Economic Profile of the Migrant Domestic Workers

Economic Indicators
Percent Average

Monthly Income of the Respondents (BDT)
Less equal 1500 1501‐3000
3001‐4500

4501 and above

32.4
29.8
19.8 2886.00

18.0

Family’s Monthly Income (BDT)
Less equal 6000 6001‐10000
10001 and above

43.2
33.8 7753.00

23.1
Family’s Monthly Expenditure (BDT)

Less equal 6000 6001‐10000
10001 and above

45.3
38.1 7314.00

16.6
Source: Unnayan Onneshan Field Survey, 2013

5.7 AGE AND PHYSICAL FITNESS
Self‐perceived health status is considered as a better indicator of potential service than that of actual health condition (Fillenbaum, 1984). To assess the health status of the respondents, a question has been asked, “What is your current health status?” The answer has been recorded on a three‐point scale: Healthy; Fairly Healthy; and Unhealthy. A significant number (76.3 percent) of respondents are found healthy at the early age less than 20. Then the number of healthy respondents falls with the advancement of age. In other words, with the age advancement both fairly healthy and unhealthy intensifies.

Figure 5.4: Physical Fitness by Age

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Unnayan Onneshan Field Survey, 2013
As time progresses, the cumulative biological changes that occur in all species ultimately result in decreased ability of individuals to function in the environment. These age related deteriorations may be in part, biologically inherited, they may also be modified by environmental conditions such as stress, physical inactivity (hypokinetic diseases), and nutrition (Bourliere 1978; piscopo
Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 101 102 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

1985). In general, the biological ages and physical fitness revealed that those who manifested a higher (older) physical fitness age did not necessarily have a higher biological age, but those who manifested a lower (younger) physical fitness age were also found to have a lower biological age. But doing too much hard working can devastate muscles, harass hormonal system, and implode immune system. But here, the continuous deterioration of health condition of the domestic workers revealed that the domestic work has a continuous negative impact on health.

5.8 LONG WORKING HOURS AND HEALTH
The purpose of this study is to find the causal effect of working hours on health status and healthy lifestyle behaviours of workers. Number of working hours of the domestic workers is classified here into two groups; less than 7 hour and 7 hour and above. The workers who work 7 hour and above have always a greater chance of suffering from any one or two or three and above of fever, cough, headache, stomach pain, acidity, waist pain, typhoid/dysentery/diarrhoea, jaundice, itching etc than those of working less than 7 hours.

needs and necessities of family and how much members are dependent upon him/her (men in households with young children were significantly more likely than other men to work long hours). A growing body of evidence suggests that long working hours adversely affect the health and wellbeing of workers (Sease and Scales, 1998). Researchers (Sease and Scales) found that working long hours increased the risk of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal disorders, chronic infections, diabetes, general health complaints, and all‐ cause mortality. Other diseases suffered by them are breathing difficulty, diabetes, cardiac disease, high blood pressure, hypertension, short of hemoglobin, tuberculosis etc. 64.5 percent and 35.5 percent of respondents work 7 hour and above and less than 7 hour respectively. For women, engaged in domestic work for long hours are associated with several worse conditions, including problems with arms, legs, hands, and blood pressure.

Figure 5.5: Working Hours and Sickness Suffered by Respondents
The mechanisms driving the impact of work on health are manifold. For instance, work can give an individual a sense of purpose and satisfaction which is an important determinant of mental health. On the other hand, the number of hours worked can also affect mental and physical health of individual by producing stress, fatigue, depression, muscular pain, etc. Moreover, if non‐working time decreases unhealthy lifestyle behaviours can increase. Hence, people working more hours do less physical activity, have poor eating habits, and poor medical examination (Maruyama, Kohno, and Morimoto, 1995), which altogether affect the level of health stock.

Working long hours are not significantly related to age or marital

status, but related to his/her responsibility towards family, the Source: Unnayan Onneshan Field Survey, 2013

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 103 104 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

5.9 COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS BETWEEN MIGRANT AND NON‐MIGRANT DOMESTIC WORKERS

With the intention of observing the overall situation of the migrant as compare it with non‐migrant, the following issues are rgarded:

5.9.1 Cost of Living
Number of households where domestic workers work in daily varies according to their needs and necessity and the availability of work. About four‐fifth of the non‐migrant domestic workers work in a single house and four‐fifth of remaining workers work in two houses. Among the total non‐migrant workers, 3.68 percent and 0.61 percent of respondents work in three and four & above number of houses respectively. A substantial portion, more than three‐fifth of the migrant domestic workers work in more than one house in a monthly contract basis. And the rest workers work only in one house. Engaging more houses is the main survival strategy of the migrant domestic workers. In a single word, the migrant domestic workers engage themselves in many houses for sustaining their livelihood as compared with the non‐ migrant counterparts. The root cause of working in more houses by the migrant than non‐migrant is for managing the excessive cost of house rent. In urban centers, housing problems are no longer news as it is considered as one of the characteristics of urbanisation. When lots of people want to live in a limited space, they bid up land prices, and that flows through to rents. Price rise has sent family budgets haywire. People constantly fight against nature and social ordeals for survival. A good house protects a family from the onslaughts of nature as well as anti‐social elements. These basic needs for human are not possible to meet by slight investment from their savings due to low income level. So in order to make their income level high, they spread themselves across a variety of houses. They believe that this poverty‐perpetuating behavior comes from the desire of the poor

to minimise risk as well as their inability to raise the capital needed to operate more efficiently. As the poor migrant need to survive in more expensive big cities, they technically have more money than local residents but they also spend it all very quickly to feed themselves and to pay the house rent.

Figure 5.6: Number of Working House of the Respondent

 

 

 

 

 

 
Source: Unnayan Onneshan Field Survey, 2013
5.9.2 Working Hours
A variation in daily working hours exists between migrant and non‐migrant domestic workers. The non‐migrant workers who work less equal 6 hours show the higher statistics than that of migrant domestic workers. This same scenario has also been found with the working hour greater than 6 and equal to 8 hours. But in case of working hour greater than 8, the migrant domestic workers show the higher statistics than those of non‐migrant counterparts. Hence, the migrant domestic workers engage them more houses to work and spend enough time to do this job regardless their health condition in order to fulfill their basic needs and necessity.

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 105 106 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination
Figure 5.7: Working Hour of the Respondent The other diseases suffered by them are breathing problem, diabetes, cardiac disease, high blood pressure, hypertension, short of hemoglobin, tuberculosis etc. 5.4 percent for migrant and 6.7 percent for non‐migrant suffer by any of other diseases.

Figure 5.8: Problem Faced by Migrant and Non‐migrant Domestic Workers

 

 

 
Source: Unnayan Onneshan Field Survey, 2013
5.9.3 Health Status (Sickness)

The percent of non‐migrant domestic workers who live without facing any physical problem is 22.1, whereas it is 16.1 percent for the migrant domestic workers. The most commonly suffered diseases are fever, cough, headache, stomach pain, acidity, waist pain, typhoid/dysentery/diarrhoea, jaundice, itching etc. The number of respondents suffering from any of the diseases mentioned above, is almost equal (around 27 percent) for both migrant and non‐migrant domestic workers. Majority of the respondents lead their daily life with having two diseases. But the number of migrant domestic workers suffering from two and three and above diseases is high as compared with the non‐ migrant domestic workers. Working in more houses and day long work by the migrant domestic workers are the major reasons for this worse situation. Other reasons are very limited access to the existing health care facilities for urban poor especially women and taking medicine without any supervision of trained physicians. The high fees and charges of the physician is the major reason for not taking treatment from any physician.

 

Source: Unnayan Onneshan Field Survey, 2013
5.9.4 Receiving Microcdetit
An amazing fact is that, the number of migrant domestic workers who have not taken any loan is higher than those of non‐migrant counterparts. Alternatively, migrant domestic workers take loan less as compared to non‐migrant. This does not always mean that the overall situation of migrant domestic workers is well as they did not take loan. Most of the migrant family cannot meet the expense with their earned monthly income as it found earlier. So they need monetary support either from others or from NGOs in order to manage their daily necessity. But they do not get the micro‐credit facility as they fail to provide a local guarantor, which is the main requirement of most of the NGOs to give loan to any. But they do not get the micro‐credit facility as they fail to
Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 107 108 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

provide a local guarantor, which is the main requirement of most of the NGOs to give loan to any. Getting support from any local person is very hard for migrant workers as they may shift to another area anytime.

Figure 5.9: Receiving Microcredit Facility by the Respondent

their native land. Most respondents stated that they migrated due to economic and social reasons. However, economic reasons usually underlayed the social reasons. 39.1 percent of the respondents stated that economic insolvency is the main reason for their migration. More than two‐third of the respondents mentioned the scarcity of locally available work as their main reason of migrating. In fact, the overall lack of employment opportunities in their locality would be the most important root‐ cause of migration from any region to another in Bangladesh. Migration for better work facilities, natural disasters likes river erosion and floods have also been addressed by some.
Figure 5.10: Factors of Migration

 

 

 

Source: Unnayan Onneshan Field Survey, 2013
5.10CAUSAL FACTORS OF MIGRATION

Every man wants to improve the standard of living and desires to have a comfortable life. When this desire remains unfulfilled in his own native land, he wants to migrate to another city to fulfill the desire. Migration varies depending on socio‐economic, demographic and cultural factors. Unemployment, poverty, natural disaster i.e. flood, draught, river erosion etc. and other socio‐cultural factors, like marriage, family conflict, better living, better education facilities, social discrimination, social prejudice, fanaticism, political chaos, dominating village elders etc. also act as motivators of migration (Mahbub 1997). Here, more frequently cited reasons for leaving the origin is economic hardship of the family, shortage of agricultural land or landless, scarcity of job in

 
Source: Unnayan Onneshan Field Survey, 2013
Migration, any type, whether documented or undocumented, forced or voluntary can be explained in term of push‐pull factors (Datta, 1998). Push factors attribute to the negative characteristics operating at the centre of origin whereas pull factors identify the positive characteristics (Datta, 2002) at the centre of destination. The rapid growth of population and consequent landlessness along with other factors of population displacement in the rural areas lead to rural unemployment, which generates a growing

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 109 110 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

flow of potential migrants. It seems to be an inevitable process where the urban sector absorbs the surplus rural populace. In fact, population growth in the urban sector in Bangladesh is predominately recurred due to migration of people from its peripheral rural areas. Most of the migrants coming from rural areas are poor, and hence the urban areas remain numerically dominated by the poor. The migrants have originated largely from the economic depressed areas of the country (Sarwar and Rahman, 2004). In order to examine reason, this facilitates or constrains poor migration, the present study ‘factors for migration’ as a main indicator. These are:

i. Social Factors:

In this study, social factors i.e., social inequality, culture, number of family member, religious harressment etc are placed in others category. For socially or naturally, daughters are considered as additional burden for the poor family. So the families remain very much anxious for the marriage of their daughters and want to reduce the number of family members through marriage. As a result, some poor migrants become victim of social inequality and torture and lost everything in life. A few poor migrants are left their villages for religious causes, e.g. religious minority, religious conflict, religious fotowa (religious biased activities) etc. The other major social factors like living with husband/wife or parents, family feud, living luxurious life etc. are found to be pushing them to migrate in city. Some married women/husbands migrate alone in the city areas for searching employment opportunities. After migration they bring their husband/wife and children either to join formal sectors as workers in factories or to informal sectors like restaurants, household work, daily labourers, etc. for increasing family income.

ii. Economic Factors:
Economic activities and income in a rural society mainly revolves around land or cultivable land. Because in rural Bangladesh industry is still a distant cry. In this study we found that poverty

and scarcity of jobs are very important factors for pursing to the city.

a) Poverty:

Poverty is another major cause of migration. Mainly, poverty works as the main factors of every steps of it. When there is no work and the stomach is empty, a person tries his best to survive. Similarly, when the poor people fail to feed their family in their native villages and see the hungry faces of their beloved children, even after trying heart and soul to get rid of poverty, they are compelled to migrate to another place. Because of this poverty, they are now the inhabitants of cities.

b) Scarcity of Job:

The agricultural sector does not have enough scope to absorb large numbers of labourer. Rural areas are still legged behind of industrialisation and thus unemployment is the general feature of this country. The adult, young, adolescent and others children in rural areas did not find satisfactory employment. So, people move to city area for looking employment.

iii. Environmental Factors: a) Monga:
Monga(cyclical food shortage which occurs during the lean season) is the classic ‘push’ affecting millions of people especially in Northern part of Bangladesh. In Northern region, the movement of people in a fragile and challenging environment can be seen as one of the main characteristics and drivers of history. Poor people mobility in Monga affected areas notes that migratory people is likely to play an increasingly important role as a coping mechanism for food‐insecure rural households. The achievement of sufficient nutritional status depends on the three factors availability, accessibility, and utilisation of food. Availability is the physical existence of food. Here availability refers to a combination of food production, commercials food

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 111 112 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

 

imports, food aid, and domestics food stocks in the regional or national level. Monga directly affects those who are involved in agricultural activities. The agriculture, in the Monga regions, is mainly based on paddy cultivation. The employment opportunities for agriculture day labourers therefore mainly depend on seasonal labour requirements for this crop. In‐ between transplantation and harvest, only little labor is needed and as a result, the income of day‐laborers is low. Like the agricultural labourers, marginal farmers face Monga, too. Their financial assets reduce towards the harvest. The financial resources of many marginal farmers are not enough to ensure the inputs for their crops and sufficient food for their families in the same time. Some groups or individuals are indirectly affected by the agricultural lean season. This is the case for all those who depend on the income of people affected by the agricultural lean season, like small traders and beggars. Due to the weak purchasing power, they have no access to the market, i.e. they cannot buy enough food to fulfill their requirements. The access is sometimes further limited because the prices for basic foods often increase during Monga (Zug, 2006). In this case, they have ‘no work’, ‘no food’, how can they live? So, in order to survive, they have migrated to city in quest of living. Although they all try heart and soul to remain in their respective native place, but sometimes they face a situation in which they have no alternative without migration.
b) Flood and Riverbank Erosion:
After Monga, the second cause which is responsible behind migration in the city is the flood and river bank erosion. Every year, many families lose their belonging i.e. cropland, trees and plant, animals and human life owing to flood and riverbank erosion. So, the people living especially beside the river banks migrate to the city only because of floods and bank erosion

5.11DETERMINANTS OF MIGRATION
To identify the Influential factors which induce for taking migration decision, a logistic regression analysis is applied. The factors such as age of respondent, their educational backdrop, occupation of the household head are statistically significant i.e., highly effect on taking migration decision (Table 5.3). The relative odds ratio for each category along with β value, standard error of β value, 95 percent confidence interval and its statistical significance are also presented in that table.

Age of respondent is an important determinant for taking decision to migrate. In this logistic regression analysis, respondents up to 25 years age are considered as reference category. The odds ratio for the respondents who are 26‐45 years of age is 0.410 and for the respondents aged 46 and above is 0.847 as compared to the reference category. That means populations of aged 26‐45 and 46 and above prefers 0.410 and 0.847 times less to migrate themselves than those of population aged less equal 25 years. A large portion of migration occurred due to marriage. Child Marriage is one of the burning problems in the society of Bangladesh. In Bangladesh, despite amended of laws advocating 18 as the legal minimum age at marriage for females, a substantial portion of adolescent girl get married below that age limit.

Marital status is not significant but has a positive impact on taking decision of migration. The decision of migration is influenced by the marital status of the individuals also depends on his/her responsibility towards family. The population of married and others (it includes divorce and separation) have 2.143 and 1.612 times high probability to migrate to other geographic area than those respondents who are single. When a person get marry, especially male, his expenditure increases more for bearing cost of his own family members. So, in order to earn additional income, he searches for a better source of income.

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 113 114 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

When he fails to get such kind of income source, he moves to another region where he expects to get a better opportunity. In order to fulfill the growing demand of their growing family in their destination, the female counterparts engage themselves in a domestic work when she failed to get another job opportunity. This mainly occurs among the no or low educated members since to get a better job a minimum educational backdrop is required.

The respondents, engaged in domestic work, are comparatively less educated than those are engaged in other formal or informal jobs. Respondents having education class I‐V and VI and above prefer 0.444 and 0.988 times less to migrate than those who have no education. The reason is that educated people have better opportunity in obtaining another job and they possess more managing capacity at any circumstances. For overcoming the economic hardship of a family, the younger members of the family are to engage themselves in any earning activities. So, they do not get the chance of higher education facility. Due to unavailability of jobs in their origin, they induce them to migrate in another region where they can find jobs or working facility for managing the daily needs and necessity of them and their family members as well.

The respondents whose family posses 3 and above dependents have 1.255 times higher chance to migrate themselves than those family posses 1‐2 dependent populations. Another statement is that, whose family posse 4 and above working aged population has 7.9 percent lower probability to migrate than those family has 1‐3 working aged population. Working aged populations play a positive role by engaging them in any earning activities to overcome economic insolvency of the family.

Another significant determinant is the occupation of the household head. The respondents whose household heads are day lobourer, rickshaw or van puller have 0.223, 0.363 times less probability to migrated themselves respectively than those

household heads are engaged in farming as cost of farming has gone up in recent decades. The causes of this price spike are complex and due to a combination of mutually reinforcing factors including increased feedstock used in the production of biofuels, rapidly rising oil prices and a continuing devaluation of the US dollar, the currency in which indicator prices for these commodities are typically quoted. The adversity which has been faced by domestic workers in their origin is the root cause for inducing themselves to migrate. The main adversity faced in the origin is the economic insolvency of the family. The respondent who has faced the scarcity of job in their origin has 0.79 times lower probability than that of the respondent who had the economic insolvency.

Table 5.3: Binary Logistic Regression Analysis on Taking

Migration Decision, Controlling For Selected Covariates

Covariates β S.E. of Significanc Odds 95% C.I. for

β e Ratio Exp(β)

(Exp(β)) Lower Uppe r

Age of Respondent

Less Equal 25® … … .103 1.00 … … 26‐45 ‐.891 .456 .050 .410* .168 1.003 46 and above ‐.166 .331 .617 .847 .443 1.621
Educational Backdrop of Respondent

No Education® … … .004
1.00


Class I‐V
‐.811
.379
.032
.444* .211
.934
Class VI & above
‐.013
.369
.973
.988
.479
2.034
Marital Status

Single®


.250
1.00 …

Married
.762
.494
.123
2.143 .814
5.639
Others
.477
.348
.171
1.612 .814
3.190
Occupation of HH
Farming®


.000
1.00 …

 

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 115 116 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

 

Day Labour ‐1.499 .360
.000
.223**
.110
.453
Rickshaw/Van ‐1.013
Puller
.371
.006
.363**
.175
.752

Others
‐.721
.372
.052
.486
.235
1.007
No. of Dependent Population
1‐2®



1.00


3 and above
.227
.235
.334
1.255
.792
1.989
No. of Working Aged Population
1‐3®



1.00


4 and above
‐.082
.265
.757
.921
.548
1.548
Adversity Faced in the Origin
Economic


.805
1.00

Insolvency®

Job Unavailability ‐.236 .250 .345 .790
.484
1.289
Landless
‐.045
.431 .916 .956 .411 2.225
Others 20.55 3.336E .995 8.464E8 .000 .

7 3

Note: ® means reference category; ** ρ<0.01 and * ρ<0.05 Source: Unnayan Onneshan Field Survey, 2013

5.12 SITUATION STUDY OF THE INTERNATIONAL MIGRANT DOMESTIC WORKERS

A significant number of the citizen of Bangladesh migrate to abroad and engage themselves in domestic work. They face a variety of predicaments not only in their destination but also in process of rehabilitation in their native land. Most of the international migrant who go out for doing domestic work are usually less educated or they have no education. So they face a lot of sticky situation in their migration process also.

5.12.1 Problems Faced during Recruitment Process
The returnees were asked to explain the entire procedure of recruitment during migration. Majority of them were not able to explain about the actual process. One of them reported that she had given money to the agents and got the visa and tickets from agents. “What is the basic requirement of migration” was asked to another returnee and some members of the families of migrants. They reported that the requirements are age, education, language proficiency and medical check‐up. It becomes clear from the above discussion, many of the migrants and family members are not aware of the actual process of migration. Thus, they are to suffer a lot of predicaments during the process of migration. A woman had waited long time after giving money to the agent and after reaching the place of destination she came to know that her visa contract got over. There were some cases of sexual abuse also during recruitment as reported by a 37 year old divorcee return migrant.
“I had given BDT 2.25 lakh to the agent for migration. After reaching Dubai, he took my passport and other documents and sent me to an apartment where a group of ladies were staying. From there they send the ladies to different places for work. Sometimes, sponsor used to come and take them. I spent five to six days there. During these days, agent tried to abuse me sexually and asked me to go for sex work. Then I had approached a Bangladeshi migrant working there. He helped me and arranged a job as housemaid. Later, I came to know that I had migrated without proper documents. I worked there for sometime but later I was taken to jail as I was not having any proper documents. After some days, I had to come back to Bangladesh with the help of embassy”.

5.12.2 Reasons for Return
Returnee migrants are asked to list the important reasons that made them to come back. They reported multiple reasons for their return, which can be classified into factors related to the working place and factors related to process of migration. The

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 117 118 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

major reasons for the return of the migrants are health related reasons, expiry of contracts or lack of proper documents and lower level of job satisfaction. Some are reported the reasons as verbal, physical and sexual abuse. One of the returnee (Md. Shafik, age‐33, is an auto‐rickshaw driver) stated that:
“I have a family of six members. In 2003, I went to Malaysia after selling my ancestral property. I had to take loan also for this purpose. I got a job in a house there and my tasks were gardening, watering the plants, and buying kitchen items. For further income, hoping that I would be able to send more money to my parents, I managed a part‐time job and used to do it in the afternoon while I got leisure. In the beginning, the household head couldn’t know about my part‐time job; so things were going on easily for me. But when the house hold head came to know it he started putting more work load on me. One day, the employer got very angry and hit me with a sickle‐a reaping hook. As I tried to defend me with hands but my two fingers were cut off and I fell unconscious. I woke up in a hospital and came to know that my employer filed false case against me. After getting well I was forced by Malaysian police to come back to Bangladesh. After returning to Bangladesh, I started driving auto rickshaw on hire. Then I got married and with the financial help of my father‐in‐law, I managed to buy an auto rickshaw. Now I am working hard for a better living.”

In addition, there were also a few cases of repatriation of domestic workers for their illegal stay. Because of the unregulated nature of domestic work, many of the migrants have to face harsh working conditions and excessively long working hours. A large number of the migrants had to work more than eight hours during first and last move and most of them had to work all the days in a week and worked as long as 14 hours as or more than that in a day. They were asked to do extra work such as cleaning cars, working in the field, looking after sheep, working in houses of the relative of their employers etc as reported speech by one. The finding is that all the migrants who were asked to do extra work and work more than 14 hours per day were domestic workers. A returnee migrant (aged 54 years,

widowed, primary educated) who worked as domestic workers in Saudi‐Arabia said:
“I was asked to do all the work in the house of my employer as well as in the house of his relatives. Because of workload, I had heavy bleeding once. When I informed this to the wife of employer, she said that every woman has to face these types of problems and therefore, there is no need to go for treatment. The kitchen of that house was in the second floor and there was no lift. I had to carry heavy gas cylinder from ground floor to second floor every time. One day I fell down from the staircase and I was hospitalised. It was a government hospital and therefore I had received all the treatment free of cost and after treatment I had returned. Moreover, I could not make any complaint against the employer as they captured my passport. So, mentally and physically I was very vulnerable.”

5.14 CONCLUSIONS
Migrants are to be entitled to safe and decent working conditions including fair pay, compensation for accidents during work and rest periods like any other workers. Guarantees to ensure respect for such international standards may be provided for in national law, but their applicability to domestic workers to be evident. Although arrangements between employers and domestic workers are typically made in an informal manner, the existence of a clear legal framework concerning wages, tasks, overtime, holidays, sick leave, combined with awareness by employers of their legal duties, would help to ensure that the initial agreement between employers and workers respects basic labour law standards. There is a high risk of impunity, including for grave violations of rights. Fear of deportation, limited rights awareness and difficulties in accessing legal support are some of the obstacles faced by migrants in an irregular situation. Despite these difficulties, many migrants do find access to information and remedies through assistance from or participation in civil society organisations and migrant networks. Trade unions can be, and are in some cases, a key vehicle for migrants to claim their

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 119 120 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

 

rights. Non‐governmental organisations (NGOs) and trade unions undertake important advocacy work, campaigning for adequate employment conditions and fair treatment for the migrants.

Due to their irregular status, migrants often do not have access to childcare facilities and need to find ad hoc solutions. Many female domestic workers have to care for other children whilst their own children are left back at home. More efforts are required to monitor whether fundamental rights of migrants in an irregular situation employed in the domestic work sector are respected. This should be combined with better rights awareness by migrants, employers and the wider society as a whole, for which the role of civil society is crucial.

The institutions of Bangladesh tremendously missed the opportunity to design reintegration programmes for the returned migrant workers which needs to include in employment programmes and skills re‐trainings in the country. This lack of programmatic support for the returned creates a disincentive for migrant workers to find employment in the country. In terms of policy implications, the government of Bangladesh needs to formulate a strategy to re‐integrate the returned migrant workers into the local political‐economy and take advantage of the skills of this new human resource. The returned migrant workers are already skilled and have improved their skills while working abroad. This is important to recognise in order to craft the appropriate re‐integration program for the returned migrant workers. The migrant domestic workers in turn can greatly benefit once the national law on domestic workers is enacted. This ensures the wages, benefits and social protection of domestic workers nationwide.

References

Anderson, Bridget. 2000, Doing the Dirty Work: the Global Politics of Domestic Labour. London: Zed Books

Datta, P. 1998, Migration to India with special reference to Nepali migration. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Calcutta, Kolkata, West Bengal, India.

Datta, P. 2002, Nepali migration to India. Paper presented in the Regional Population Conference, South East Asia’s Population in a changing Asian Context organized by International Union for The Scientific Study of Population. Bankok, Thailand.

Fillenbaum, G. G. 1984, The Well‐being of the Elderly: Approaches to Multidimensional Assessment. Geneva: WHO.

Maruyama, S., K. Kohno, and K. Morimoto. 1995, A study of preventive medicine in relation to mental health among middle‐ management employees (Part 2). Japanese Journal of Hygiene, 50(4), 849.

Qayum, Seemin and Ray, Raka. 2003, Grappling with Modernity: Indiaʹs Respectable Classes and the Culture of Domestic Servitude. Ethnography, Sage Publications London: 2003. Vol.4(4)

Sarwar, Salima and Sadikur Rahman. 2004, Urbanization, Rural or Urban Migration and The Street Children in Hazardous Condition: A Case Study in Rajshahi City, Rajshahi: Association for Community Development–ACD
Sease, R.. and J. scales.1998, Work Now‐Pay Letter? The Impact of Long Work Hours on Health and Family Life (Technical Paper
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No. 17). Cholchester, England: Institute for Social and Economic Research

Tokman, V. 2010, Domestic workers in Latin America: Statistics for new policies. Report prepared for IUF and WIEGO. Available at http://www.wiego.org.

ZUG, SEBASTIAN. 2006, Monga ‐ Seasonal Food Insecurity in Bangladesh ‐ Bringing the Information Together, The Journal of Social Studies, No. 111, July‐Sept 2006.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 123 124 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

 

 

 

Chapter Six

WORKING HOUR AND WAGE PATTERN OF DOMESTIC WORKERS Md. Al Amin Islam

 

6.1 INTRODUCTION
This chapter analyses how the legal intervention translates the social understanding of domestic work on the basis of examining the working hours and wages of domestic workers in different regions, which leads to value adding and segmenting it. Domestic workers have no statutory limitation of their weekly working hours and are not entitled to be paid a minimum wage which is inacceptable from a human rights and gender equality view.

Women in informal work, especially domestic work, signal very low‐level subsistence wages and the location of women at the bottom of the pyramid in a heterogeneous informal economy (Chen 2012; Unni 2001; Kalpagam 2001). The growing importance of personal services, especially domestic work is a source of regular earnings for poor, uneducated urban women (Chandrasekhar and Ghosh 2007; Chakravarty and Chakravarty 2008; Mitra 2005). However, despite the rising demand for domestic workers, wages continue to be pegged at low levels and they represent one the most poorly paid segments in the informal sector. In many parts of the country there have been attempts to organise workers and engage them in collective bargaining.

Nevertheless, workers bargain hard on an individual level, despite threats of turnover and the vulnerabilities of their overall economic and social condition. Given the performance of work in the “private” sphere of the family through individual negotiation, the workers face a multiplicity of labour outcomes causing variation from one employer to another, from one task to other and from one region to another.

This chapter is based on secondary and primary data collected from each of the seven division of Bangladesh and is conducted for highlighting factors that tend to devalue the wages of domestic workers even more than those of other workers of comparable categories. The chapter helps in understanding the necessity of inclusion of the rights of domestic worker into Labour Rights Law in Bangladesh and its possible implications.

6.2 MONTHLY INCOME AND TASKS
Domestic work involves tasks that women have traditionally provided in households like cooking, cleaning, shopping, laundry, as well as caring for children and elderly, disabled and other household members in need of care. In the context of Bangladesh, the most common tasks are cooking, cleaning and caring for children and elderly. The percentage of workers who work both cooking and cleaning shows the higher statistics at every level of monthly income than any other types of work. The demand for work of only cooking or cleaning is low in every household. If anyone does cooking, most of them have to do the task of cleaning. About 71.7 percent of workers perform both cooking and cleaning and monthly earned BDT 4501 and above. The number of domestic workers who do this work are almost equal (near about 47 percent) at other level of monthly income. The number of respondents involved in cleaning is higher (11.6 percent) than the number involved in cooking (6.0 percent) at monthly income level less equal to BDT 1500. The same scenario has also been found in the next higher income level of BDT 1501‐

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 125 126 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

3000. But in the following two income levels, the reverse scenario has been observed. This brings to light that cleaning task command a lower wage rate than cooking in general. The reason may lie with perceptions of skill and the social dynamics of caste. In case of the task of caring children and elderly, most of the domestic workers (11.6 percent) work at less equal to BDT 1500; the lower monthly income level. The monthly income level at which most of the domestic workers performed all (cooking, cleaning and caring children/elderly) tasks is BDT 1501‐3000. The highest number of workers doing all other tasks (guarding, shopping, laundry, gardening etc) is 13.9 percent with the monthly income of BDT 1501 to 3000.

Figure 6.1: Monthly Income and Task of Domestic Workers

women. Since, women performed this task in their own household without pay, domestic work is devalued in monetary terms. The average weekly working hour of a female domestic worker is 58.73, nearly 1.13 times higher than that of male. But the average weekly wage of female is 1.03 times higher which represents a disproportionate with working hour and the amount is BDT 539.83 for male and BDT 556.7 for female respectively. This male‐female wage differentials reflect differences of skills. The skills, experience, effort, responsibility which are taking duly into account for performing domestic work considered as merely absence to male counterparts. It has to be prudenced against undervaluing domestic work by setting the minimum wage for domestic work regardless of sex. Minimum wages for domestic workers can also contribute to closing gender wage gaps. Although enforcement of minimum wages is often weak and compliance by employers remains partial, minimum wages still have a noticeable impact on the wages of domestic workers.
Figure 6.2: Male‐Female Wage Differentail

 

 

 
Source: Unnayan Onneshan Field Survey, 2013
6.3 MALE‐FEMALE WAGE DIFFERENTIAL

Domestic work is usually considered as a task which is performed by women or girl. Women are far more involved in a range of domestic activities than men both in rural and urban areas. Despite prevalent attitudes that such work is the responsibility of women, although men also contribute to domestic work. Such participation is far less common than for

 

Source: Unnayan Onneshan Field Survey, 2013
6.4 WAGE PATTERN OF DOMESTIC WORKERS BY TASK
Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 127 128 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

Typically, the domestic work market is characterised by multiple employers and multiple wages paid at the end of the month. Although wages could be time‐rated as well as task‐rated, and each contains an element of the other. Usually, the income of the respondent varies according to the type of domestic work, number of houses served and a host of other factors. A calculation of average income in the same unit is required for comparison across the categories of work. Here, computation of hourly wages for the purpose of comparison is chosen. Cooking generates an average hourly wage of BDT 12.58, while cleaning commands a lower average hourly wage of BDT 10.16 (Table 6.1). The reason of commanding a lower wage rate of cleaning than cooking may lie with the perceptions of skill and the social dynamics of standard. Certainly more employers of servants are of upper and middle social standard and usually they would not accept food from the hands of the lower social group. On the other hand, cooking task yet continues to be considered more skilled than other kinds of domestic service, notwithstanding the gradual erosion of the superior status of the cook, thereby commanding, in general, higher wages than cleaning. An amazing fact is that, the category of workers falling under “both” (i.e., they might be cooking somewhere and cleaning elsewhere or combining both tasks at the same house) commands an average hourly wage of BDT 10.24, which is lower than the average of the two (cooking and cleaning). This is because they have to often spend longer hours at this work, thereby offsetting the effect of the higher monthly income. The workers who performed the task of caring children and elderly command the lowest hourly wage (BDT 4.71) among the all mentioned tasks. The second lowest hourly wage (BDT 6.0) is received by the workers who carry out all mentioned tasks. Usually, the two types of workers (mainly child, widowed or elderly) get offers of shelter at house of employer and receive benefits from them other than wages such as food, bonus and credit. The average hourly wage of the workers, associated with other work (guarding, shoping, laundry, gardening etc), is BDT 9.35 which is the third

lowest hourly wage. This makes it clear that more than monetary differences in wages it is the social understanding of a given task that the notifications exemplify.

Table 6.1: Wage Pattern of Domestic Workers by Task

Task Workers Average Average Average Average (in Monthly Daily Daily Hourly
percent) Wage (in Wage (in Working Wage (in

BDT) BDT) Hour BDT)

Cooking 9.5 2982.35 99.41 7.9 12.58 Cleaning 14.0 2347.33 78.24 7.7 10.16 Elderly/Childcare 5.4 1172.41 39.08 8.3 4.71 Bothni Cooking & 50.0 2642.16 88.07 8.6 10.24 All above 10.8 1632.76 54.43 9.0 6.05 Others 10.3 1992.73 66.42 7.1 9.35
Source: Unnayan Onneshan Field Survey, 2013
6.5 WORKING HOUR AND WAGE DIFFEENTIAL BETWEEN LIVE‐IN AND LIVE‐OUT DOMESTIC WORKERS

Working hours vary according to the task, and wage varies according to not only the task but also what benefits they get from their employers. Live‐in workers9 are pivotal in residential care and a central part in ensuring that an environment of safety and potential for growth is provided to children, young and elderly. Among the total domestic workers, only 16.1 percent are live‐in and rest of them are live‐out workers10. Although live‐in workers are excluded from the hours of work and overtime provisions, they are entitled to be paid for all time worked.
9 Domestic workers who reside in the premises of the house of employer either for ʺpermanentlyʺ or for ʺextended period of time (at least five days a week)ʺ.
10 The domestic workers who work temporarily and resides outside the premises of the house of employer.

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 129 130 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

Average working hours worked in a day by live‐out workers is calculated at 7.98 hour, whereas 9.81 hours calculated for live‐in workers, and which is 1.23 times higher. But the average daily wage of live‐in workers is 2 times lower than that of live‐out workers. BDT 86.47 and BDT 43.56 are calculated for live‐out and live‐in domestic workers respectively. When hourly wage is considered, it is found that average hourly wage of live‐out workers is 2.45 times lower when it is calculated for live‐in workers.

Figure 6.3: Working Hour and Wage Diffeential Between Live‐ in and Live‐out Domestic Workers

 

 

 

 

 

 
Source: Unnayan Onneshan Field Survey, 2013
Historically, non‐wage factors have often determined or at least influenced the calculations of wage rates and helped to even out visible disparities. Despite long working hour but low wages, some choose work with residential facility because of benefits other than wages. Three factors are important in this context: food, bonus and credit. In most cases now, there seems to be less concern with provision of food and preferred money to get shelter and other non‐wage benefits. The reason is that more workers have a preference of working in more houses and

earning more money by spending the same time in a day which a live‐in worker usually would have to spend in a single house and so that they can play a major role in maintaining his/her household expenditures. Moreover, they have a predilection in spending time with their own family rather than spending hours at the house of the employer. Usually, children, divorced and widowed women engage themselves in domestic work with residential facilities.

6.6 REGIONAL DIFFERENCES IN WORKING HOUR AND WAGE RATE

A scenario of the wage differences of domestic workers across region becomes more apparent if one calculates the differences in wage for different hours of work for different states or regions based on the average wage. Figure 6.4 shows the differential wage rates for different divisions by region for different hours of work on an hourly basis. Domestic work is not seen as worthy of being considered skilled work. This also means that no matter how many years of work a worker may put into undertaking these tasks, such work will remain unskilled. The experience of workers in these tasks is not worthy of consideration. The working hour and wage listed in the figure vary across divisions, though at the overall level some uniformity exists. Hourly wage rates are very important as a large section of domestic workers are part‐time workers. Thus, if a worker works only for an hour a day for a particular household, the wage rate is highest in Dhaka, both in rural and urban area, among all other divisions. In Dhaka, for domestic tasks, the rate for an hour is roughly BDT 11.0 for rural domestic workers, while it is BDT 14.4 for urban counterparts. No city or division can serve opportunity for many as Dhaka, because it is a city of strong prospects for employment in a range of sectors, particularly services and industries. So migrants flock to the city in search of jobs and better lives. Normally, more peoples, either male or female, of Dhaka city engaging them in income generating activities outside of home

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 131 132 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

and they don’t get enough time to spend in their own household work. So there creates more opportunities to do domestic work with pay. Domestic workers of Dhaka city engage themselves in many houses (sometimes four or more) in a day and earn more money than those of other divisions or city. The wage of workers also varies according to region where they involved themselves in domestic work. The scenario has also found that the wages of workers almost higher in urban area as compared with their rural counterparts across all divisions (Figure 6.4).

Figure 6.4: Regional Differences in Working Hour and Wage Rate

 

 

 

 

 
Source: Unnayan Onneshan Field Survey, 2013
However, behind the average wage, working hour is the fact that a big segment of domestic workers work excessively long hours a day varies across the divisions along with the regions. Working hours is an important point of difference between urban and rural across all divisions and from division to division. Therefore, to compare their wages properly, it is necessary to take working hours into account and convert daily pay received into hourly units. For well understanding the undervaluation of domestic work in wage, the study illustrates two divisions for comparison, Dhaka and Rajshahi. In rural area, the working hour of domestic

workers of Rajshahi is 1.1 times higher than that of the workers of Dhaka, but their wage is 3.44 times lower, whereas for urban area, the notable finding is that, in Rajshahi division, the average hour spent a day by a worker is 1.26 times lower and their hourly wage is much (2.4 times) lower when compared it with the workers of Dhaka division. So, the observation is that disproportionate of wages with daily working hour exists when compared with other divisions. The different working hour and wages paid for an hour across all division by region is postulated in the figure.

6.7 AVERAGE DAILY WAGE COMPARISON
The under valuation of domestic work becomes more apparent when wages of domestic workers are compared with wages of other workers. Domestic work is generally considered as a task of women and girl. The finding is that, man‐woman wage differential exits in the mentioned category of work and women are usually paid a lower wage, except for domestic work, as compared it with man. So women are also under valuated in wage among the same task. Women in domestic work receive 1.20 times and 0.28 times lower wage than that of the workers of wood and products, and construction industry respectively. But only the women workers of agriculture and forestry get lower wage as compared it with domestic workers. In some types of work, usually fishery and hatchery under the industry of agriculture and forestry, there is no provision for women, where the wages of such type of workers is high among the tasks of that industry. So the wages of female in that industry shows a lower statistics. The average wage is calculated to be 1.27 times higher for the workers of Agriculture and Forestry than that of the workers of domestic work. So the fact is that the domestic work is undervalued in monetary term.
Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 133 134 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

Figure 6.5: Average Daily Wage Comparison of Domestic Workers with Other Industrial Workers by Gender

 

 

 

 

 

 
Source: Unnayan Onneshan Field Survey, 2013 and BBS 2011
6.8 WAGE GAP BY GENDER AMONG VARIOUS INFORMAL JOBS

An analysis of minimum wages across other comparable sectors of informal employment helps understand the social and legal undervaluation of domestic work. The biggest challenge in doing so is to come up with a comparable occupational category. The description of work is comparable and could be used to understand the discriminatory approach and the devaluation of domestic work though the nature of the workplace is different. Another way to look at the issue is to compare the average wage of domestic workers with occupations that these women workers would have taken up in the absence of domestic work. In comparison to other workers, viz construction, manufacturing, hotel and restaurants and health and social service workers, domestic workers receive the lowest average hourly pay (Figure 6.6). Among domestic workers, a male has the advantage of hourly wage over a female. One such very comparable task with domestic work is construction, where women are largely into

unskilled tasks. But the wage of female construction workers is 1.21 times higer than those of domestic workers. Male‐female wage defferences exit among all categories of work as mentioned here. The hourly wage of male workers of manufacturing work are placed at the top of the hierarchy and gender wage gap also placed at the top there. Figure 6.6 clearly shows the undervaluation of paid domestic work. The work performed by domestic workers is often undervalued even though they offer an essential service for the day‐to‐day survival and wellbeing of people, and even though they are entrusted with the care and security of loved ones, home and personal property. In all divisions, the minimum wage for domestic work is fixed at rates lower than those of domestic workers employed by local administrative bodies or private employers to perform tasks outside private households. How does one explain this uniformity across states in setting poor and discriminatory wages for domestic workers? Nothing but the difficulty in accepting housework as “productive work” underlies this devaluation. More recent attempts to value unpaid care work, which have found some resonance in this context, also seem to have made no major change in the valuation of housework at the ground level. Moreover, women do not have enough access to some of the higher earning occupations within the informal sector, such as in the transport sector (private and public), skilled work in construction, traditional artisan work such as carpentry, house painting or new work such as plumbing and electrical, auto repair and maintenance. Men, despite choosing from a larger pool of jobs, are unable to guarantee regular and sufficient incomes. As a result, women domestic workers have to compensate for the erratic incomes of their husbands and are responsible for tiding over situations of economic crisis. The monthly wage, however low, ensures a regularity of income and the availability of low cost or zero cost credit becomes one of the prime attractions of the profession. Earning an income to secure a livelihood for themselves and their families is the primary concern and motivation for workers to go to work. This is no less

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 135 136 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

true for domestic workers. What does distinguish domestic workers from many other workers is that their remuneration is far lower. To explain the low levels of remuneration among domestic workers, a range of mostly interlinked factors needs to be considered. Low wages partially reflect the lower than average skill requirements for the job, and the generally lower level of education of domestic workers (ILO, 2010b, pp. 41 and 54).

Figure 6.6: Hourly wage inequality regarding DW and other informal occupations

 

 

 

 

 

 
Source: Unnayan Onneshan Field Survey, 2013 and Occupational Wage Survey 2007
Note: Because of unavailability of recent relevant data, Occupational Wage Survey 2007 has been applied here.

However, a range of evidence suggests that domestic work remains undervalued, and that domestic workers often receive less than workers in comparable occupations (Budlender, 2011a). One reason for the low wages of domestic workers is their weak bargaining position. Because their workplace is a private household, domestic workers perform their duties to a large extent in relative isolation from other workers, often having to negotiate with two (or more) different employers. Domestic

workers often have no co‐workers, and long and unpredictable hours of work may make it exceptionally difficult for them to meet up with fellow workers to exchange experiences and information and to organise collectively.

6.9 INFLUENCING FACTORS OF WAGES AND BARGAINING

In the absence of minimum wage stipulation, the level of wage competition plays significant role in determining wage level. The survey finds that both low wage and high turnover are led by overcrowding and undercutting. The notion of skill and domesticity associated with the feminisation of the sector also influences the calculation of wage. The assumption of domestic work is constructed as a natural option for poor uneducated or less educated women as it is considered as a skill inherent in femininity deskilling the profession. Working within the intimate sphere of the family is considered as another factor in this regard. Based on mutual reciprocity and dependence arising from various material considerations, the preferable term for this relationship can be “pragmatic intimacy” instead of “feudal servitude” (Ray and Qayum 2009). However, this is an emotional claim on surplus which is cited as a reason for continuing in a job despite low wages. However, in order to understand the process of bargaining or negotiation around wages, these factors influencing wages are discussed below.

6.9.1 Overcrowding and Undercutting
Easy substitutability of workers evidently results from the state of overcrowding in this sector which erodes bargaining power and lowers wages. Supply of domestic workers including both migrant and non‐migrant are prevalent in the localities where non‐migrant are found close to the employer house or new migrant. The local workers who live close to work place often cause undercutting of wages. As a result, new migrant workers are to work at lower wages due to having less to choose from and
Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 137 138 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

their greater financial compulsions. Most of the workers get reduced cash money as their wage since they receive some food during work period in their house they work and the employers count as payment in kind. Because of wage competition‐induced low average levels of wage, if any worker demands fair wage, the employer replaces her with another worker who is willing to work at a lower wage. Therefore the conspicuous thing is that overcrowding leads to fall in the rate of wage which is further worsened due to undercutting of wage by the workers themselves.

Many respondents feel that undercutting happens not only through “slum dwellers or new migrants”, but also through members of their own community. For long stretches of leave, the worker provides a substitute (which is called badly), who undertakes the same work for the same pay. In some cases, the badli is preferred and the original worker dismissed. This is because the new worker undercuts the first, by agreeing to do more work or accept less pay or work longer hours. Undercutting and turnover is typical of an excess supply situation. The single‐ most important cause for dismissal is contestation over leave of absence. There seems to be almost no convention of a preordained set of leave days, such as once a week. Workers report that they had to face flak even in the rare cases when there was such an understanding. Thus according to them, they “just took leave” whenever required, because irrespective of whether this was part of the original agreement or whether they gave prior information, displeasure and quarrels were bound to happen.

6.9.2 Pragmatic Intimacy
Formalisation of labour procedures is undercut by personal relations, especially when matters such as intimacy and loyalty to the employer take importance over the rights of worker. Respondents in the present study are found to have focused on good conditions or treatments in the workplace, rather than on

what are equal, fair or legally admissible requirements for their work. Mostly they emphasise on how they are addressed by the employers and their families and how much they get over and above the wages when defining a good working environment. A sense of intimacy is often explained in terms of good behaviour, though workers seem aware about the difference between “good” treatment and “equal” treatment. Good behaviour is exemplified by how the workers are treated “like a member of the family”, the point of reference being that the children of the household call her “aunt”. Sometimes, however, the workers show great clarity in understanding the social and economic distance in the employer‐employee relation. In such cases, “good behaviour” is interpreted in the form of benefits they receive over and above wages. This type of relationship is what can be called “pragmatic intimacy” developed on mutual dependence and reciprocity between the two sides – the employer’s family feels safe and easy with household tasks with a familiar person while the worker is free from the hassles of losing jobs and meeting sudden financial needs with the help of the employers.

6.9.3 Feminisation and Non‐exist Occupational Community Feminisation of work is generally conceptualised through referring to the increasing number of female in work and often associated with cheapening of wages, flexible work contracts, home‐based work, poor work conditions, lack of skill and jobs which are dead‐end, monotonous and repetitive (Banerjee 1997; Elson 1999; Mukhopadhyay 1999; Jain and Banerjee 1985; Kreimer 2004; Unni 2001). Increasing participation of women in domestic work results in cheap wages, high turnover, and lack of skill formation. Generally, the recruitment of domestic work happens through informal networks of the workers and word of mouth as they work and live in close proximity which also causes the migration of workers to take place. Bargaining strength of women in domestic work is eroded by competition and extreme vulnerabilities. In the absence of formal legislation and its

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 139 140 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

enforcement, specific labour market outcomes are heavily determined by informal and individual negotiation. As a result, collective effort of the occupational community cannot take place to influence patterns of work, conditions of work, acceptable behaviour by employers, wages, wage increments, entitlement to leave, non‐wage benefits, tenure and turnover.

6.10 MAINTAINING LIVELIHOOD IS AN EVERYDAY STRUGGLE

The workers in all the divisions generally complain that the prescribed wages are inadequate in cities and most of the workers, who are migrants, do not afford house of their own. As a result, a major portion of their earning goes to pay house rent. Based on the field survey, the finding is that 26.5 percent households of domestic workers are headed by female, whose husbands, in some cases, are either unemployed or irregular wage workers causing the women to take the whole responsibility of running the family. Furthermore, 7.3 percent women, who are separated from their husbands,are to run their families on their own. Besides, almost 30 percent of domestic workers belong to the age group of 40‐50 years which does not allow them to manage to work for many households. As a result, their incomes become lower leading to deplorable living conditions. The finding of the field survey is that in order to meet contingencies, two‐thirds of domestic workers take loans at higher interest rate from local money lenders. In addition, food price hike and general inflation exert extreme pressure on them to afford subsistence, children’s education and good health. As a result, the lack of balanced and timely food, children and the workers themselves become sick frequently. Moreover, some workers are to expend money for transport. The workers who earn BDT 4000 to BDT 5000 a month find difficulties to cope with price hike in the market which cause them to cut down their expenditure on food. These scenarios of living of domestic workers imply that the minimum wage in domestic work is

insufficient to meet the basic subsistence of the workers. A domestic worker has to spend 8.3 hours a day that has been found earlier for performing their assigned tasks. But working more than eight hours per day is rarely feasible for them as they have other duties as wives and mothers. While earning BDT 4000 to BDT 5000, a domestic worker cannot afford the basic needs properly, therefore is virtually impossible for her to meet the subsistence by BDT 3000.

As per 2010 estimate (BBS), if the poverty lines allowing nutrition norms of 2122 kilo‐calories in both areas i.e., rural and urban are to be met, it requires at least BDT 1170 a month (BDT 39 a day) and BDT 1680 a month (BDT 56 a day) per person, respectively (Author’s calculation based on HIES, 2010 and Bangladesh Bank, 2014). If each full‐time worker is to support at least two dependents, this corresponds to a minimum daily wage of BDT 78 and BDT 112 only for consuming 2122 kilocalorie per day respectively. But the daily wage of domestic workers is roughly BDT 64 and BDT 87 for rural and urban respectively (UO Field Survey 2013). The notable thing is that when calculating their requirements of money to maintain minimum calorie required, no amount has been kept for other non‐food consumption necessities, such as clothes, medicines, education, etc. If some money is spent on those provisions, then the amount spent on food items has to be further curtailed. Thus, the evidential thing is that the statutory wage rates are far below what is required by domestic workers.

6.11 CONCLUSIONS
Domestic workers posses a low level of collective bargaining power. This trait invariably disempowers women to extract remuneration which allows them to enjoy a decent standard of living. Domestic work is a service of informal and highly personalised, where the workplace is the home of the employer. In such a work situation, the workers from a poor social and

Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination 141 142 Domestic Workers: Devaluation and Discrimination

economic background are likely to find it difficult to contest their conditions of employment and are kept down and made voiceless. In a context of growing inequalities, they are not easily able to incarcerate much public attention which makes matters worse is that they are engaged in housework, which is socially devalued. The implication of the minimum wage legislation to domestic workers transmits the gendered understanding of housework and the valuation of their work. Better statutory wages for domestic work could perhaps contribute to a revaluation of unpaid housework.

The bargaining around wage remains, however, complex and uncomfortable because of multiple determinants. Policymakers are much more enthusiastic on issues of abuse and harassment of workers but dodge questions of wage rise and entitlement to leave, citing the class heterogeneity of employers and the dependence of most middle class homes on uninterrupted service of domestic workers. This probably calls for much more change than just wage legislation and social security.

They, a large segment of unrecognised labour, might be empowered through organising and building some degree of bargaining strength through informal understandings so that they generally keen to represent themselves and to take control of their working lives by organizing. It would expect, if a formal union structure is not established or professionalisation with clearly demarcated, it is somewhat unfeasible to emerge and to bring some degree of stability and standardisation in the labour market. This would have a profound effect on the social and political foundations of gender relations in the country. Women will continue to be locked within the lower rungs of the informal economy with only marginal improvements in their condition, unless the process of organising recognises the challenges and comes up with appropriate policies.
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Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS). 2008, Occupational Wage Survey, 2007. Dhaka, Bangladesh: Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.

Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS). 2011, Wage Rate of Working Poor in Bangladesh, 2009‐10. Dhaka, Bangladesh: Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.

Bannerjee, N. 1997, How Real Is the Bogey of Feminisation?. The Indian Journal of Labour Economics, 40 (3), 427‐38.

Budlender, D. 2011a, Measuring the economic and social value of domestic work: Conceptual and methodological framework. Conditions of Work and Employment Series No. 30, Geneva, ILO.
Chakravarty, Deepita and Ishita Chakravarty. 2008, Girl Children in the Care Economy: Domestics in West Bengal. Economic & Political Weekly, 43(48), 93‐100.

Chandrasekhar, C P and Jayati Ghosh. 2007, Women Workers in Urban India. Macroscan, 6 February.

Chen, A Martha. 2012, The Informal Economy: Definitions, Theories and Policies. Women in Informal Employment: Globalising and Organising (WEIGO) Working Paper No 1.

Elson, Diane. 1999, Labour Markets as Gendered Institutions: Equality, Efficiency and Empowerment Issues. World Development, 27, 3, 611‐27.

Jain, Devaki and Nirmala Banerjee. ed. 1985, Tyranny of the Household: Investigative Essays on Women’s Work. New Delhi: Shakti Books.

 

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Kalpagam, U. 2001, Globalisation, Liberalisation and Women Workers in the Informal Sector. In A Kundu and A N Sharma (ed.) Informal Sector in India: Perspectives and Policies, Institute for Human Development, Institute of Applied Manpower Research, New Delhi.

Kreimer, M. 2004, Labour Market Segregation and the Gender‐based Division of Labour. European Journal of Gender Studies, 11, 2, 223‐46.

Mitra, Arup. 2005, Women in the Urban Informal Sector: Perpetuation of Meagre Earnings. Development and Change, 36, 2.
Mukhopadhyay, Swapna. 1999, Locating Women within Informal Sector Hierarchies. In T S Papola and Alakh N Sharma (ed.) Gender and Employment in India. New Delhi: Indian Society of Labour Economics and Vikas Publishing House.

Ray, Raka and Seemin Qayum. 2009, Cultures of Servitude: Modernity, Domesticity, and Class in India. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Unni, Jeemol. 2001, Gender and Informality in the Labour Market in South Asia. Economic & Political Weekly, 36 (26), 2360‐77.

Unni, Jeemol. 2001, Gender and Informality in the Labour Market in South Asia. Economic & Political Weekly, 36 (26), 2360‐77.

 

 

 

 

 

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Chapter Seven

RIGHTS OF DOMESTIC WORKERS Md. Al Amin Islam
Md. RaisuL Islam Sourav

 

7.1 INTRODUCTION
This chapter aims to find out existing legal laws regarding domestic workers. Usually, domestic workers are the persons who help to do our household chores for money or benefit. Most of the time, either they are women or are children. They do not know about their rights due to their illiteracy and unconsciousness and suffer in silence when these rights are violated. This study will also recommend things which need to be changed as well as the necessity to enact new law on this issue to protect the rights of domestic workers properly.

Many domestic workers are victim of harassments and sexual abuse by their lord. State is also liable for this situation, because of the unwillingness to protect them and to conscious them about their legal and legitimate rights. In addition, our existing Labour Law also denies their rights and does not include them as workers under the purview of the mentioned law. Section 1, sub section 4, clause O of the Bangladesh Labour (Amendment) Act, 2013 excludes “Domestic Servants” from the shadow of the said Act. Hence, they are deprived from getting protection under the present Labour Law. Consequently, this community is vulnerable and disenfranchised and they do not have ways to ventilate their

injustices. Further, they do not have any practical and effectual lawful means to impose their rights or to guarantee their reimbursement and privileges. Initiatives to change their plight are not sufficient enough. For the legislators and other stakeholders, domestic workers are not in the agenda because of their powerlessness.

However, the chapter will explore existing legal mechanism of the country relating to the domestic workers i.e. Labour law, Ordinary laws to protect the rights of domestic workers, and the judgment of the High Court Division in this regard. Latter this initiative will discover international instrument to protect the rights of both domestic and migrant domestic workers. At the end this endeavour will try to recommend the matters which need to be changed and newly adopted by the concerned authorities.

7.2 LEGAL DEFINITION OF DOMESTIC WORKERS
The term “Domestic worker” is a very recent trend to recognise them as workers. Formerly they were known as Servant, Housemate, Helping hand etc. The Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (Convention No. 189 of ILO) first recognises domestic work as work and persons engaged in this sort of work as worker and also introduces a set rights for these workers. According to this Convention (Decent Work for Domestic Workers), work performed in or for a household or households is domestic work and any person engaged in domestic work within an employment relationship is domestic worker. A person who performs domestic work only occasionally or sporadically and does not on an occupational basis is not a domestic worker.

This work may comprise cleaning house, cooking, washing and ironing clothes, taking care of children, or elderly or sick members of a family, gardening, guarding the house, driving and even taking care of domestic pets. A domestic worker may work
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on full‐time or part‐time basis; may be employed by a single household or by multiple employers; may be residing in the household of the employer (live‐in worker) or may be living in his or her own residence (live‐out). A domestic worker may be working in a country of which s/he is not a national, thus referred to as a migrant domestic worker11. A considerable number of men also work in this sector i.e. as gardeners, drivers or butlers. However, it remains a highly feminised sector. The employer of a domestic worker may be a member of the household, for which the work is performed, or an agency or enterprise that employs domestic workers and makes them available to households.

Hence, features of domestic workers include that the workplace is a private home where the work performed has to do with servicing the household is carried out on behalf of the direct employer, the householder. Here, the domestic worker is directly under his/her authority. Moreover the work performed must be done on a regular basis and in a continuous manner and is performed in return for remuneration, either in cash and/or in kind. Finally, the employer shall not derive any pecuniary gain from the activity done by the domestic worker.

In Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Labour (Amendment) Act, 2013 does not recognise domestic workers, pointed out earlier. Only the Domestic Servants’ Registration Ordinance 196112 defines them as domestic servant among all others laws in this country. As per 2(a) of the said Ordinance “domestic servant” includes every person who renders domestic services (i.e. services pertaining to household affairs) to is employer in lieu of wages or any other consideration.

7.3 EXISTING NATIONAL LAWS

 
11 Convention No. 189
12 Ordinance No. XLIV of 1961

At present, there is no law for domestic workers in our country except the Domestic Servants’ Registration Ordinance 196113, which deals with the registration of domestic servant. The Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh ensures rights of domestic workers as a citizen of Bangladesh. In addition, some existing civil laws i.e. the Contract Act, 1882 can help them to enforce their contract or to get compensation. Further, in case of violence they can take help of our current criminal laws e.g. the Penal Code, 1860. Apart from this, we have some special laws like the Nari O Shishu Nirjatan Daman Ain, 2010; the Children Act, 2013 on this issue.

However, the Domestic Violence (Prevention & Protection) Act, 2010, enacted recently, does not cover all domestic workers under the purview of the said law. In accordance with the provision of this law, only a female & child family member can get protection under this Act. Section 2(8) provides family comprises of those persons who live or have, at any point of time, lived together in a shared residence, when they are related by consanguinity or marriage or adoption or member of joint family and Sec. 2(9) enumerates family relationship means a relationship between two persons who are related by consanguinity or marriage or adoption or member of joint family. Hence, an unknown domestic worker who is not a member of his employee’s family cannot take shelter of this law to prevent abuse against her.

Domestic workers may be victim of domestic violence but they will have to file their case under the ordinary law. Because the Domestic Violence (Prevention & Protection) Act, 2010 says14: domestic violence means physical abuse15, psychological abuse16,

 

13 East Pakistan Ordinance No. XLIV of 1961
14 S. 3 of the Domestic Violence (Prevention & Protection) Act, 2010
15 Any act or conduct which is of such a nature as to cause bodily pain, harm, or danger to life, limb, or health or impair the health or

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sexual abuse17 or economic abuse18 against a woman or a child of a family by any other person of that family with whom victim is, or has been, in family relationship.

7.4 CONSTITUTIONAL SAFEGUARDS
The Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh is the solemn expression of will of the common people of this soil. This is a Constitution adopted, enacted and given by the people for themselves19. Thus, the constitutional spirit authorises that the rights of the neglected sections of the society are guaranteed, including those of the domestic workers.

There are four guiding principles in our constitution. One of the four guiding principles of the constitution is socialism meaning economic and social justice20stated in chapter II of the

 

development of the victim and includes assault, criminal intimidation and criminal force.
16 Includes all verbal abuses like insults, ridicule, humiliation (insults or threats of any nature); harassment or controlling behaviour such as restrictions on mobility, communication or self‐expression.
17 Any conduct of a sexual nature that abuses, humiliates, degrades or otherwise violates the dignity of the victim.
18 Any act or conduct that includes but is not limited to deprivation of all or any economic or financial resources or property to which the victim is entitled under any law or custom and not allow to use the articles of daily necessities to the victim. Economic abuse also refers to deprivation or prohibiting the victim from applying legal rights to any consideration for marriage or any property and/or transferring without consent of the victim or prohibiting the victim from applying legal rights to any assets owned by her. It also takes account of deprivation or prohibiting the victim from applying legal rights to continued access to resources or facilities which the victim is entitled to use or enjoy by virtue of the family relationship.
19 Preamble of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh 20 Preamble & Article 8 of the Constitution

constitution, where the fundamental principles on State policy are enumerated and some of these are:

Article 11 guarantees fundamental human rights and freedoms and respect for the dignity of the human beings and Article 14 declares that it shall be a fundamental responsibility of the State to emancipate the toiling masses, the peasants and workers, and backward sections of the people from all forms of exploitation.

Article 15 states that the State has fundamental responsibility to ensure the provision of basic necessities, right to work at a reasonable wages, right to reasonable rest, recreation and leisure and right to social security while Article 17 provides for free and compulsory education for the inhabitant of this territory and Article 20 declares that work is a right, a duty and a matter of honour for every citizen.

Everybody shall be paid for his work on the basis of the principle from each according to his abilities, to each according to his work. Next part III of the Constitution provides fundamental rights, which are judicially enforceable and guaranteed by the constitution itself. These rights are enforceable by the Supreme Court of Bangladesh under its Writ Jurisdiction21. As citizens of Bangladesh all domestic workers are entitled to enjoy all the fundamental rights.

Article 27 declares that all citizens are equal before the law and are entitled to equal protection of law and the article 28 enumerates that the State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. Women shall have equal rights with men in all fields of the State. However, it further states that nothing shall prevent the State from making special provision in favour of women or children or for the advancement of any backward section of citizens. Hence,
21 Art. 44 & 102 of the Constitution

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the Constitution undoubtedly permits statutes approving affirmative action for backward sections of citizens like domestic workers. While article 31 states that no action detrimental to the life, liberty, body, reputation or property of any person shall be taken except in accordance with the law. Again, article 34 prohibits all forms of forced labour and article 38 says that every citizen shall have the right to form associations of unions.

In case of violation of any of the Fundamental Rights, which are to be interpreted in the light of the Preamble and the Fundamental Principles, the aggrieved person can file a writ petition before the High Court Division. Apart from the Fundamental Rights guaranteed under the Constitution, every person has legal rights recognised by various statutes. The High Court Division may also take steps suo motu for legal rights violated by the government if there is no other equally efficacious remedy. The recent trend of public intersect litigation has widened the scope and now any person can move the court representing the interests of the underprivileged or the underrepresented.

7.5 PROTECTION UNDER ORDINARY LAWS
Aside from the constitution, there are few ordinary laws, which can protect the rights of domestic workers. These ordinary laws relating to the rights of domestic workers are discussed below:

7.5.1 The Penal Code, 1860:
Any act that has been defined by law as a crime is punishable by the courts of law. Apart from the Penal Code 1860, many other laws define criminal acts. All criminal acts are adjudicated by criminal courts and all citizens are under the jurisdiction of the criminal courts. Under the Penal Code, especially relevant for the

domestic workers are culpable homicide22, murder23, hurt24, grievous hurt25, wrongful restraint26, wrongful confinement27, assault28, kidnapping29, abduction30, rape31, theft32 etc. These and many other provisions of criminal law apply to domestic workers in the same way in which they apply to other citizens. There is however no statute that specifically deals with domestic workers and declares an act to be a criminal act considering the special circumstances of the domestic workers.

7.5.2 The Contract Act, 1882
Whenever a domestic worker starts to work in a household, there is an agreement between the employer and the worker. This agreement is almost oral. Yet it cannot be ignored that there is an understanding between the parties. The most important terms of the understanding are often the amount of money the workers will get at the end of the month as salary. There may be other terms such as how many times she can take a vacation to visit her village home, how many times she will be given new clothes by the employer etc.

Accordingly, even if not formal, written or exhaustive, the parties enter into an agreement. This agreement is enforceable under the Contract Act, 1872. This is a service contract, which the law courts must recognise. Under the previously mentioned service contract,
22 Section 299 23 Section 300 24 Section 319 25 Section 320 26 Section 339 27 Section 340 28 Section 351 29 Section 359 30 Section 362 31 Section 375 32 Section 378

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the relationship between the domestic worker and his/her employer is one of master‐servant relationship. Under this relationship, the employer is always the dominant partner and can impose favourable terms. But as long as the employer follows the terms agreed between the parties, the worker cannot protest. The employer however has certain limitations under the established legal principles. For example, he cannot violate the fundamental right of a worker even when the worker agrees to surrender the right.

Again, a worker cannot be dismissed on ground of any default unless given an opportunity of fair hearing. It follows that in case of any violation of the service contract, or any injury sustained by the worker, a case of compensation can be filed before the civil courts. The civil courts also have power to issue directions and declare any action taken by an employer to be illegal. The legal provisions are thus not ambiguous. But the problem lies in implementing these provisions since it depends upon each individual contract between the employer and the domestic worker. Clearly the problem lies in implementation and enforcement.

7.5.3 The Domestic Servants’ Registration Ordinance 1961
The only statute in Bangladesh directly dealing with the domestic workers is the Domestic Servants’ Registration Ordinance, 1961. The purpose of this Ordinance appears clear from its title, it is to oblige domestic workers to register with the police. The Act33 says that if a domestic worker fails to register with the police station, he shall be punished with simple imprisonment which may extend to one month or with fine which may extent to 100 taka or with both. The fact is that this Ordinance was made applicable for only 5 police stations of the Dhaka metropolitan area. This Act comprises of only 9 sections, which do not touch any other
33 Section 5

aspect. Apparently, the purpose of the Statute of 1961 was not to improve the fate of domestic workers, but to assist the employers to find the domestic workers in case they commit any offence and run away. Even in the area of its jurisdiction, the five police stations, the act is not implemented and the domestic workers do not actually register with the police. Apart from this, the definitions provided in this law needs to be extended. This definition34 does not attempt to define “household affairs” and thus can be interpreted in a very wide sense including guards, gardeners, vehicle drivers etc.

7.5.4 The Primary Education (Compulsory Provisions) Act, 1990

According to the The Primary Education (Compulsory Provisions) Act, 1990, the government has the power to declare primary education compulsory for a child for such area of the country as may be determined by the government. The guardians are made liable unless prevented by reasonable excuse. Under this law, primary education of all children is sought to be ensured through forming “compulsory primary education committee” in the local government level. Primary education of a child domestic worker is thus now a compulsory provision for which the local government is responsible.

7.5.5 The Nari O Shishu Nirjatan Daman Ain, 2010
The Nari O Shishu Nirjatan Daman Ain, 2010 was promulgated to take stringent measures against crimes oppressing women and children. Many of the provisions of this statute deal with issues that are relevant for domestic workers.

Section 4 deals with death, attempt to murder, grievous hurt or mutilation by using corrosive, incendiary or poisonous
34 Section 2(a)

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substances (especially throwing of acid) while section 5 with trafficking of women for prostitution and allied matters, then section 6 deals for trafficking and stealing of children. Section 7 deals with kidnapping and abduction of women and children while section 9 deals with rape and section 9A covers situations where women are lead to suicide because of acts of others. Section 14 protects privacy of women and children from media exposure. The punishments for the crimes defined under the Act are very stringent. The Act forms a tribunal to effectively adjudicate these matters and provides for detailed procedures.

Although the Act of 2000 covers many aspects relevant for domestic workers, it was promulgated to safeguard women and children in general and no specific attention was given to the domestic workers.

7.5.6 The Children Act, 2013
The Children Act, 1974 is the major legislation that aims to protect children. This statute provides for the creation of juvenile courts and a separate system of trial for the children. It provides for probation officers, establishment and operation of certified institutions for offended children, protection of their privacy, their custody during and after trial etc. Since a considerable portion of the domestic workers are children, the Act is very relevant in safeguarding their rights and interests.

Section 34 of the Act has special relevance as it provides for penalty when a child is assaulted, ill‐treated or neglected by a person having charge or care of the child.

Section 34 says that “If any person over the age of sixteen years, who has the custody, charge or care of any child assaults, ill‐ treats, neglects, abandons or exposes such child or causes such child to be assaulted, ill‐treated, neglected, abandoned or exposed in a manner likely to cause such child unnecessary

suffering or injury to his health, including loss of sight or hearing or injury to limb or organ of the body and any mental derangement, such person shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine which may extend to taka one thousand, or with both.” The remedy, being imprisonment for two years and/or fine not exceeding taka on thousand, however is very minimal.

Section 44 provides that if a person secures a child ostensibly for the purpose of menial labour in a factory or other establishment, but in fact exploits the child for his own ends, withholds or lives on his earnings, shall be punishable with fine which may extend to one thousand taka.

Another very important provision under the Act is contained in sections 55‐61 under which a probation officer, police officer not below the rank of assistant sub‐inspector or a person authorised by the government may take a child to a place of safety in respect of whom there is reason to believe that an office has been committed or is likely to be committed. Information about the child may be given by any person such as a neighbour or a conscious citizen.

The child will be produced before a court and the court will decide whether the child can be given back to its parent or guardian. The court may also send the child to a certified institute. The court may also issue a warrant to search for a child. These provisions, if property followed, can be used by any conscious citizen to save domestic child workers from torture and abuse even when the child’s natural parents are absent or silent.

7.6 LEGAL PROTECTION BY INTERNATIONAL INSTRUMENTS

Legislative measures for the protection of domestic workers, children and the eradication of child labour have been adopted at

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the international level. Among the various international instruments, the most extensive standards are those adopted by the following:

7.6.1 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), September 1990

This is the most valuable treaty in the armoury of human rights law with which to protect and defend the rights of children the world over. Notwithstanding the fact that the Convention is more comprehensive than any other human rights treaty, and has attracted the greatest number of ratifications. This Convention defines a child as below the age of 18 years and calls states to respect and ensure the given rights to each child within their jurisdiction without discrimination of any kind. By this Convention a child is to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the childʹs education, or to be harmful to the childʹs health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development under Article 32. To achieve a childʹs right to education, states are to make in accordance with Article 28 primary education compulsory and freely available to all. Every child also has a right to play, rest and leisure under Article 31.

 

7.6.2 ILO C189 (Decent Work for Domestic Workers)
The ILO Convention concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers, or ILO C18935, is the first comprehensive international

 

35 The convention was adopted by a vote of 396 to 16, with 63 abstentions, which is much more than the required two‐thirds majority. See ILO, “100th ILO Annual Conference Decides to Bring an Estimated 53 to 100 Million Domestic Workers Worldwide under the Realm of Labour Standards,” press release, 16 June 2011,

legal document calling for the full protection of and respect for domestic workers. The convention is accompanied by Recommendation 201, a nonbinding instrument that guides the implementation of the convention by illustrating practical legal and other measures36. It sets minimum labour standards for domestic workers.

Basic rights of domestic workers

Under the Convention, domestic workers are entitled to the same basic rights which are available to other workers in their country, including weekly days off, limits to hours of work, minimum wage coverage, compensation for over‐ time, social security, and clear information on the terms and conditions of employment. The new standards oblige governments that ratify to protect domestic workers from violence and abuse, to regulate private employment agencies that recruit and employ domestic workers, and to prevent child labour in domestic work.

Protections Offered by Convention No. 189

Convention no.189 offers some protections by which domestic workers can organise & mobilise support for the ratification and implementation of the Convention by their governments and can use the provisions of the Convention and the recommendation to influence changes in laws and improve the working and living conditions of domestic workers, regardless of whether or not the country in which they work has ratified.

Information on Terms and Conditions of Employment

 
http://www.ilo.org/ilc/ILCSessions/100thSession/media‐centre/press‐ releases/WCMS_157891/lang‐‐ en/.
36 ILO, “C189 and R201 at a Glance,” ILO, Geneva, 2011, 8, http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/‐‐‐ ed_protect/‐‐‐protrav/‐‐‐ travail/documents/publication/wcms_170438.pdf.

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Domestic workers must be informed of their terms and conditions of employment in an easily understandable manner, preferably through a written contract.

Hours of work

There will be equal treatment between domestic workers and workers generally with respect to normal hours of work, overtime compensation, annual paid leave and daily and weekly rest period which shall be at least 24 consecutive hours. Moreover, there is a regulation of stand‐by hours (periods during which domestic workers are not free to dispose of their time as they please and are required to remain at the disposal of the household in order to respond to possible calls).

Remuneration

The Convention includes some offers regarding remuneration which allows them to enjoy a decent standard of living. Domestic workers should have minimum wage if a minimum wage exists for other workers and the ayment of wages must be paid in cash, directly to the workers, and at regular interval of no longer than one month. Payment can be given by cheque or bank transfer when allowed by law or collective agreements, or with consent of worker. In‐kind payment is allowed under 3 conditions: only a limited proportion of total remuneration; monetary value is fair and reasonable; the items or services given as in‐kind payment are of personal use and benefit of the workers. This means that uniforms or protective equipments are not to be regarded as payment in kind, but as tools that the employer must provide to the workers at no cost to them for the performance of their duties. Moreover, fees charged by private employment agencies are not to be deducted from the remuneration.

Occupational Safety and Health
Domestic workers, like other labourers, will have the right to safe and healthy working environment and measures might be put in place to ensure occupational safety and health of workers.

Social Security

The Convention allows social security protection, including maternity benefits for domestic workers.

Standards Concerning Domestic child workers

The Convention has set some standards regarding domestic child workers which state that the minimum age of employment as domestic workers should be 18 and above. Another requirement is that domestic workers aged 15 years old but less than 18 years old should not be deprived of compulsory education, or interfered with their opportunities for further education or vocational training.

Standards Concerning Live‐in Workers

The standards as regards live‐in workers are: decent living conditions that respect the privacy of workers, freedom to reach agreement with their employers or potential employers on whether or not to reside in the household, no obligation to remain in the household or with its members during their periods of rest or leave, right to keep their identity and travel documents in their possession, and regulation of stand‐by hours.

Standards Concerning Migrant Domestic Workers
The Convention puts forward some standards concerning migrant domestic workers which include that there might be a written contract that is enforceable in the country of employment, or a written job offer, prior to traveling to the country of employment. At the same time, there will be clear conditions under which domestic workers are entitled to repatriation at the end of their employment. A provision of protection for domestic workers will exist for abusive practices by private employment agencies and finally, there will be cooperation among sending and receiving countries to ensure the effective application of the provisions of the Convention to migrant domestic workers.

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Dispute Settlement, Complaints, Enforcement

The Convention states that for domestic workers, there will be effective access to the court, tribunals or other dispute settlement mechanisms, including accessible complaint mechanisms and measures should be put in place to ensure compliance with national laws for the protection of domestic workers, including labour inspection measures

7.8 INTERNATIONAL PROGRAM ON THE ELIMINATION OF CHILD LABOUR (IPEC)

IPEC was launched in 1992 to progressively eliminate child labour through strengthening national capacities to address child labour problems and promoting a worldwide movement to combat child labour. While IPECʹs goal remains the prevention and elimination of all forms of child labour, the priority targets for IPECʹs action are the worst forms of child labour, which are defined in Convention No. 182. IPEC also calls for the provision of alternatives for children and families to ensure that children truly benefit from child labour interventions.

7.9 INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS STANDARDS FOR PROTECTION OF DOMESTIC WORKERS

There have also been promising advances in the international normative framework addressing domestic workers. These include the precedent‐setting ILO Convention No. 189 concerning decent work for domestic workers, 2011, and ILO Recommendation No. 201; the General Comment on migrant domestic workers adopted by the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (CMW) in 2010; and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), 1979 and its General Recommendation No.26 on women migrant workers (which also addresses domestic workers) , adopted by the CEDAW Committee in 2008. Organisations and trade unions of

domestic workers and NGOs of women and other support groups have contributed strongly to the achievement of the above outcomes. Regulating this sector and promoting and protecting the rights of all domestic workers, including migrant domestic workers at all stages of the migration process is a moral imperative, but is also an issue that is key to all development endeavours. It gives recognition to the economic and social contribution of domestic work to human development. It reduces the social and economic costs borne by domestic workers, families, communities and States and thus promotes human development and good governance. Any analysis of labour and migration policies/laws (and their implementation), aimed at promoting and protecting the rights of migrant domestic workers, should therefore be made with reference to these international standards and the good practices of national actors aligned with or surpassing these standards.

7.10 NATIONAL CHILDREN POLICY 2011
According to the definition under National Child Policy 2011, all individuals under 18 years are considered as children and 14‐18 age group children (male & female) constitute adolescents. The following necessary steps shall be taken in the light of the National Child Labor Elimination Policy 2010 to mitigate child labour:

Congenial work place environment for the sake of sound physical and mental health of the working children has to be ensured. In these cases, there shall be assurance that the child is not engaged in unsocial, disgraceful and risky job. The daily working hours and break between works at specific times have to be ensured.Besides, the arrangement for education and recreation of the children has to be ensured after the working hours are over. As regards medical treatment, the owner/owners or employing authority have to arrange for necessary medical care and meeting with the family when any child worker have an

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experience of accidents or feel sick. At the same time, the children working any household or engaged in any other household job should have arrangement to see his/her parents or family members at least once a month. As children engaged in household jobs they are employed as whole time workers and, therefore, owner or head of the household shall arrange his/her education, food and lodge and recreation. The children employed in various establishments must not be victimised to any kind of physical, mental or sexual assault. On the other hand, the parents of the working child/children should be involved in income generating activity to bring the children out of poverty cycle. Moreover, the working children should be given scholarships and stipends to bring them back to school. In this connection, awareness should be raised in parents and among the general population about harmful effects of child labor. In the meantime short, mid and long term planning; implementation strategy and programme have to be undertaken for the mitigation of child labor. Finally,the children should be encouraged to participate in various activities of the family occupation alongside the formal education.

7.11 FEATURES OF THE PROPOSED DOMESTIC WORKERS PROTECTION AND WELFARE POLICY 2010

The Domestic Workers Protection and Welfare Policy, 2010 includes that every employer will have to Contract with domestic workers/guardians to appoint a domestic worker in his/her home, monthly wage should be paid within 7 days along with festival allowance, segregation of working hours should be provided with sufficient leisure, no one can appoint a child of below 14 years as domestic worker, and no one can keep them under lock & key. However, if it is necessary for his/her safety, then a key must be delivered to him/her. The Welfare Policy, 2010 also includes that no employer can appoint any domestic worker without his/her consent, and assign any child in any work which in inconsistent with his age and ability. All councilor office of

city corporations, Paurashave & Union Parishad will be regarded as registering authority of domestic workers. The Policy states that the employer shall provide an identity card with photograph and every employer shall allow a holiday each week and 14 days leave as annual holidays. Government shall fix minimum wages for all domestic workers and in case of harassment or violence, government will take effective measure to ensure justice. At the same time, Government shall take steps to punish the employer for illegal action against domestic workers, take steps to do trade union and shall arrange regular inspection and develop monitoring mechanism by involving non‐govt. organisations & civil society members for protecting rights of domestic workers. The Policy clearly states that every domestic worker is entitled to get maternity benefit with payment, he/she shall be given one month prior notice to the employer for dissolving the work. Moreover, every employer shall provide enough treatment facilities, give compensation to the injured/dead workers, and will take necessary measures to ensure education of a child domestic labour and arrange necessary training to build skill.

7.12 PROPOSED LAW ON REGISTRATION & PROTECTION OF THE DOMESTIC WORKERS BY NGOs

Leading human rights NGO Ain O Shalish Kendro (ASK) has drafted a law on domestic workers in 2012 titled the Domestic Workers‟ Registration and Protection Act, 2012 and submitted it to the Ministry of Labour & Employment for enactment. However, till now there is no visible sign to enact the said law. The objects of the ASK proposed law are to uphold the constitutional guarantee to ensure dignity of labour, bring all domestic workers within a legal frame work, make provisions for proper documentation of employment of domestic workers and to substitute the existing discriminatory law (the Domestic Servant’s Registration Ordinance, 1961).

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The scope of the mentioned law is that the Act mostly contains the provisions and procedure for registration of domestic workers and the whole scheme of the Act is so devised that the registration along with other provisions of the Act will ensure protection of the domestic workers. Issues like assault, torture and other forms of violence against domestic workers can be addressed by the existing legislations such as the Nari o Shishu Nirjaton Daman Ain, 2010, the Penal Code etc. This Act is not intended to contain penal provisions; rather it would be a regulatory law.

This proposed law also suggests procedure to register domestic workers. The suggestions are that the employer will have to register employment of domestic workers within 10 working days. In this connection, the form prescribed in schedule A shall contain all particulars of the employers and domestic workers including photographs and essential information regarding employment and there shall be three copies of the form, one for the office, another for the domestic worker and the remaining one for the employer. Then, if the registrar accepts the form, he shall make an entry into the register, give a registration no. and REGISTERED seal on the specified part of each form. This REGISTERED form shall be the valid proof of employment. The registrar may refuse to register if the form is incomplete or contains contradictory or inconsistent information another important suggestion is that the domestic workers, appointed prior to the commencement of this Act, should be registered by their respective employers within 90 working days of commencement of this Act.

7.13 PROTECTION BY THE JUDGMENT OF THE HIGH COURT DIVISION

The court highlighted that the vulnerable situation of domestic workers should not be allowed to continue and it is unfortunate that such service has not been recognised as such and finds no

place in the labour laws. The court suggested that the beneficial provisions outlined in the three policy documents namely, Domestic Worker Protection and Welfare Policy 2010 (Draft), National Child Labour Elimination Policy, 2010 and the Children Policy 2011 must be brought into effect at once so that the benefits of the provisions of those policies may be given to the domestic workers. It was also suggested by the court that children between the ages of 14 to 18, who are engaged in the domestic sector, should be incorporated automatically within the provisions of the Labour Act. There should be a system of registration and monitoring of all persons engaged in domestic work. In these circumstances, the court issued the following directions to the government:

The government should take immediate steps to prohibit employment of children up to the age of 12 from any type of employment, including employment in the domestic sector, particularly with the view to ensuring that children up to the age of 12 attend school and obtain the basic education which is necessary as a foundation for their future life.

Education/training of domestic workers aged between 13 and 18 must be ensured by the employers either by allowing them to attend educational or vocational training institutes or by alternative domestic arrangements suitable to the concerned worker.

The government should implement the provisions mentioned in the National Child Labour Elimination Policy 2010 and establish a focal Ministry/focal point, Child Labour Unit and National Child Labour Welfare Council in order to ensure implementation of the policies as mentioned in the Policy, 2010.

The government should include domestic workers within the definition of “worker” in the Labour Act, 2006 and also should implement all the beneficial provisions of the draft of Domestic

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Worker Protection and Welfare Policy 2010 as announced by the government.

The cases relating to the violence upon the domestic workers must be monitored and prosecution of the perpetrators must be ensured by the government. The government has a responsibility to protect all citizens of this country, be they rich or poor. It must not be forgotten that the domestic workers come from a poverty‐ stricken background and deserve all the more protection from the government and the authorities set up by the government.

In order to prevent trafficking, in particular, and also to maintain a track on the movement of young children from the villages to the urban areas, parents must be required to register at the local Union Parishad the name and address of the person to whom the child is being sent for the purpose of employment. The Chairman of the Union

Parishad must be required to maintain a register with the details of any children of his union who are sent away from the locality for the purpose of being engaged in any employment. If any middleman is involved, then his/her name and other details must be entered in the register.

Government is directed to ensure mandatory registration of all domestic workers by all employers engaging in their household any child or other domestic workers and to maintain an effective system through the respective local government units such as Pourashava or Municipal Corporations in all towns and cities for tracking down each and every change of employment or transfer of all the registered domestic workers from one house‐hold to another.

Government should take steps to promulgate law making it mandatory for the employers to ensure health check up of domestic workers at least once in every two months. At the same

time the legal framework must be strengthened in order to ensure all the benefits of regulated working hours, rest, recreation, home‐visits, salary etc. of all domestic workers.

Laws must also ensure proper medical treatment and compensation by the employers for all domestic workers, who suffer any illness, injury or fatality during the course of their employment or as a result of it.

7.14 CONCLUSIONS
The formulation of laws for domestic workers of Bangladesh regarding working hours, wages and leave with other facilities along with inspection to monitor the working environment is at a standstill i.e., the government of Bangladesh is still dragging its feet on the domestic workers law. They have no scope to make complaints to or seek protection from the court over denial of fair wage and abuse by their employers. Their wages are determined normally in comparison with the standard of the neighbours’ payment. Until recognising the domestic workers as regular workers with a right to days off, limits to hours of work, or the right to form unions, the implementation of rights of domestic workers remains lax and there also ruins a serious deficiency. Once the law is established, the domestic workers will have virtually no means of protecting their rights when the balance of power between management and labour is weighted firmly in favour of management. They can bring complaints, but doing so is being especially fraught, every so often for the close relationship with their employers and some can’t bring complain owing to the subsistence of frightened of losing their jobs. So a special attention should be given in this regard. The workers should have the access to form independent organisations and legal right to strike, otherwise their petitions and law suits will rarely successful.

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Government had earlier warned that children under 14 are vulnerable to physical, mental and even sexual abuse. It is too hard to organise children safe and sound as they work within the confines of the home, they are unseen and unheard and their abuse goes unreported. A hefty awareness campaign is urgently needed so that people know employing children is illegal and prosecution of the offenders has to be much quicker if want to deter others. It even aims to go beyond what is in the law and emphasise things not covered, like regular check ins and evaluations, cost of living raises and bonuses, and health care and compensation coverage of workers. The current ILO Convention 189 falls short of the minimum standards set forth medical treatment and compensation by the employers for injury or fatality of workers during the course of their employment or as a result of it. So the existing loopholes that the employers would state that an injury of workers was deliberately self‐inflicted and can use for their own benefit.

A region‐wide contract for domestic workers will have to be developed that would improve their protections. There is no indication that the proposed laws for domestic workers will be accompanied by enforcement mechanisms to secure its implementation. However, only a contract will not be an adequate substitute for including domestic workers in national labour laws without clear enforcement mechanisms.

References
Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK). 2012, Domestic Workers’ Registration and Protection Act, 2012. Dhaka, Bangladesh, Available at: http://www.askbd.org/ask/wp‐ content/uploads/2013/10/Proposed‐Draft‐Law‐for‐ Domestic‐Workers‐Registration‐Act‐English.pdf [Accessed on 08April 2014]

Ferdousi, N. 2013, The Children Act 2013: A milestone of child protection. The Daily Star [online], 24 September, Available at: http://archive.thedailystar.net/beta2/news/the‐children‐ act‐2013‐a‐milestone‐of‐child‐protection/ [Accessed on 05 April 2014]

Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs (MoLJPA). 1860, The Penal Code‐1860 (Act no. XLV of 1860). Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs Division: Dhaka, Bangladesh, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. Available at: http://bdlaws.minlaw.gov.bd/pdf_part.php?id=11 [Accessed on 03 April 2014]

Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs (MoLJPA). 1872, The Contract Act, 1872 (Act No. IX of 1872). Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs Division: Dhaka, Bangladesh, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. Available at: http://bdlaws.minlaw.gov.bd/print_sections_all.php?id=2 6 [Accessed on 05 April 2014]
Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs (MoLJPA). 1961, The Domestic Servants’ Registration Ordinance‐1961 (East Pakistan Ordinance no. XLIV of 1961). Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs Division: Dhaka, Bangladesh,

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Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. Available at: http://bdlaws.minlaw.gov.bd/print_sections_all.php?id=3 21 [Accessed on 02 April 2014]

Ministry of Primary and Mass Education (MoPME). 1990, The Primary Education (Compulsory Provisions) Act, 1990. Dhaka, Bangladesh, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. Available at: http://www.sai.uni‐ heidelberg.de/workgroups/bdlaw/1990‐a27.htm [Accessed on 06 April 2014]

Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs (MoLJPA). 2010, Nari o Shishu Nirjaton Daman Ain, 2010. Law and Justice Division: Dhaka, Bangladesh, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.

Ministry of Women and Children Affairs. 2011, National Children Policy, 2011. Dhaka, Bangladesh, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. Available at: http://www.mowca.gov.bd/wp‐ content/uploads/National‐Child‐Policy‐2011.pdf [Accessed on 07 April 2014]

United Nations Human Rights. 1990, Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1990. New York: United Nations. Available at: http://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/crc.a spx [Accessed on 07 April 2014]

 

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