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Domestic workers call for ratification of ILO Convention 189

| June 21, 2012

Migrant domestic workers have called on the Chinese government to ratify the treaty that will assure the basic rights of domestic workers here in Hong Kong.

Various workers’ groups have called for the ratification and enforcement of the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers or Convention 189.

In June last year, the ILO adopted the Convention on Domestic Workers in its 100th annual conference in Geneva.

Convention 189 provides the international standards to improve the working conditions of millions of domestic workers worldwide.

It stated that domestic workers around the world must have the same basic labor rights as those available to other workers. These labor rights include: equal treatment in relation to the normal hours of work, overtime compensation, weekly rest of at least 24 consecutive hours, and paid annual leave; right to a safe and healthy working environment; and protection against abusive practices of private employment agencies.

The ILO convention also provided minimum wage coverage and limit of in-kind payment; access to courts, tribunals or other dispute resolution mechanisms; and freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining.

ILO’s 189th convention is supplemented with recommendations. The convention is an international treaty that is binding on member states that will ratify it, while the recommendation provides more detailed guidance on how to apply the convention.

According to ILO proceedings, the new convention will come into force after two countries have ratified it. It will be enforced 12 months after the ratifications of two member states. Thereafter, the convention will be enforced on an ILO member state twelve months after its ratification.


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