CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu Domestic Workers’ Welfare Trust has appealed to the Jayalalithaa-led State Government to notify the recommendation of a committee, which fixed Rs 30 per hour as the minimum wage for domestic workers, several months ago.
Speaking to City Express, M Josephine Amala Valarmathi, coordinator of the Trust, said, “Though the State Government-appointed committee had recommended in February last year that the domestic workers should be given `30 as their wage per hour, it is yet to be notified and such decree by government would only help their cause.”
After persistent demands by several rights groups on fixing minimum wages for domestic workers, who are employed in almost all households across the country, the Centre had come out with a notification in 2007.
Based on the direction, the Tamil Nadu Government, through its Labour Department, formed a committee to fix minimum wages for domestic workers, and in February last year, the panel proposed `30 per hour as minimum wage for house work.
“Even though fixing a minimum wage is one step towards empowering the unorganised domestic workers, we feel that a government notification would only make the voiceless people get their wages,” said Valarmathi.
According to an estimate by the Trust, the state has about 18 lakh domestic workers, predominantly women. As far as Chennai city and its suburbs are concerned, the Trust estimates that about 10 lakh women are engaged in different domestic works ranging from housekeeping, washing and cleaning utensils, washing clothes to sweeping and cleaning the house and gardening.
Besides the wage notification, the Trust also appealed to the State Government to take solid steps with the Centre to include the domestic workers category in the Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill to ensure justice to the voiceless.
Domestic workers have been specifically excluded from the definition of employee under the bill, which has been prepared to protect women at workplaces, especially at institutions.
“Though there are apprehensions that it could be misused if domestic workers were covered under the bill, the stark reality is that the women, who work as domestic maids, are the most harassed,” Valarmathi said.