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Lobbying and Advocacy for Enacting Legislations


Until very recently, domestic workers in India have been excluded from the purview of legislations to protect their rights. This neglect is all the more distressing as organized labour and many sectors of unorganized labour have the benefit of various laws, which are justiciable in courts of law. The few piecemeal attempts at inclusion of domestic workers in Central Acts has been largely due to the concerted efforts of NDWM and like- minded organisations to highlight the plight of domestic workers. These include:

  • Inclusion of Domestic work under the Child labour Act 1986
  • Inclusion of Domestic Workers under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013.
  • Implementation of Minimum Wages Act 1948 in some States
  • Implementation of Unorganized Workers Social Security Act 2008 in some States

In 2011, ILO adopted Convention 189 declaring Domestic work as decent work which should enjoy fair terms of employment as well as decent working conditions. Although India voted in favour of the convention, they are yet to ratify it. Ratification requires passing of comprehensive legislation for domestic workers which is still to be taken up by the Central Government. Hence our current advocacy and lobbying efforts as well as our campaigns remain focused on 5 main demands:

  • Adoption of National Policy for Domestic Workers
  • Comprehensive National Legislation for Domestic Workers in India
  • Ratification of ILO C 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers
  • Inclusion of Domestic workers in the schedule for Minimum wages Act 1948 and its implementation in all states.
  • Implementation of Unorganised Workers Social Security Act, 2008 in all states.

During 2020, the Advocacy teams met 42 MPs, 21 MLAs, 53 members of the Labour Ministry and 37 other Government officials.

Several Public Interest legislations have been filed by the National Domestic Workers’ Movement:

  1. Public Interest Litigation (PIL) of National Domestic Workers Welfare Trust Vs Union of India (PIL No.160/2003) for a comprehensive legislation to protect the service conditions of domestic workers throughout the country.
  2. PIL of National Domestic Workers Welfare Trust Vs Government of Jharkhand (PIL No. 2810/2012) for the effective implementation of the Unorganized Workers Social Security Act 2008 in Jharkhand.
  3. Tamil Nadu Domestic Workers Union filed a Writ Petition before the Madras High Court vide WP No: 21324 of 2015 praying that the Hon’ble Court may be pleased to issue a writ, order or direction and more particularly a writ in the nature of MANDAMUS directing the respondents to fix the minimum wages for “Domestic Work” under section – 3(1) A of the Minimum wages Act, 1948.
  4. A writ Petition was filed in the High Court in Mumbai wherein the court gave orders for formation of a tri-partite board to look into the demands for Covid 19 relief measures.
  5. A Public Interest Litigation was filed in the high Court in Madhya Pradesh to provide rations to non-ration card holders. The court asked the petitioner to submit the list to the District Collector for further action.