In the latest incident, a 13-year-old domestic help was rescued from Sector 67 after members of the employer’s family allegedly beat her up and held her captive in a room with their mouths taped. In response, officials from various departments including law, labor, and health are working together to create a charter of rights aimed at protecting the interests of domestic workers, Times of India reported.
The framework, expected to be completed by the end of this week, will outline minimum wages, working conditions, age restrictions, and other requirements that employers must adhere to. Deputy Commissioner Nishant Yadav told ToI that the administration is studying charters implemented by foreign governments like the UK and seeking legal advice from experts to ensure the effectiveness of the charter that will also specify minimum working hours even for the staff that reside at their employer’s house 24×7.
Yadav expressed concern over the safety of those who migrate to urban areas in search of livelihood opportunities, highlighting the mistreatment faced by domestic employees, particularly in high-rise buildings. To address this, residential welfare associations (RWAs) will be asked to collect data on domestic employees working in their societies.
The district administration aims to establish a comprehensive database, enhancing the existing policy of police verification before employment. Once the charter is finalized, it will be distributed among RWAs, societies, officials, and individuals. This initiative comes in the wake of several cases of abuse, exploitation, and trafficking of domestic helpers in Delhi-NCR.
Experts emphasize that in the absence of any lack of regulation, employers often take advantage of vulnerable families seeking employment opportunities. Deepika Narayan, a rights activist, hailed the charter as a pressing need in the current scenario.
Narayan also highlighted the need to educate domestic employees about accessing government medical facilities for regular check-ups to ensure their well-being. Currently, domestic workers in India are covered under the Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act and the Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act. In 2016, the Domestic Workers Welfare and Social Security Bill was tabled in Parliament but it was never enacted.
While the Domestic Workers Welfare and Social Security Bill was proposed in 2016, it has not been enacted. However, a few states like Maharashtra have taken measures to establish welfare boards for domestic workers.