NCW proposes weekly off for domestic helps


New Delhi : The National Commission for Women (NCW) is preparing a set of guidelines for domestic helps which will pave the way for an eight hours a day work schedule for them, a weekly off and reprieve from the sub-human living conditions.

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“We know domestic helps are in the unorganised sector but they need to be treated better. Some system regarding working hours, weekly offs and reprieve from exploitation by placement agencies is necessary,” said Malini Bhattacharya, member, NCW.

“We are preparing a bill with all these recommendations which will be discussed extensively at a meeting in the last week of September. After that it will be sent to the central government,” she told IANS.

“A draft law governing domestic workers’ rights is on the anvil. This will address the plight of domestic helps. We don’t yet have dedicated legislation on this and our initiative will help address it,” Bhattacharya said.

The women’s right body, however, said that till the time the legislation comes into effect, they are planning some immediate measures to regulate the placement agencies.

“We carried out a study of placement agencies in Delhi and legal provisions for domestic helps and found that there is no account of the people who come for the job of domestic helps.

“False home addresses, employment of minor girls and sub human conditions of living at placement agencies before getting employed need to be fixed soon. We are in touch with NGOs and some other institutions to register these placement agencies and act against them,” she said.

The NCW will tell the state governments to address concerns at the ground level so that human trafficking comes to an end.

“Sates like West Bengal, Jharkhand, Assam and Bihar contribute the most to the domestic help market and we will tell these states to curb its growth. Instead of trafficking, there should safe migration,” Bhattacharya added.

The commission would also recommend to the central government certain punishment for the placement agencies violating the law.