Alarms raised over treatment of maids, domestic workers

Today, the International Labor Organization, which is part of the United Nations, raised alarms about the legal protections that domestic workers get.

Domestic workers -- maids, butlers, cooks, nannies, and other individuals employed around the house -- don't often get a lot of attention as part of the labor force. Yet there are an estimated 52.6 million of them around the world, and globally, 7.5 percent of women engaged in wage employment are domestic workers.

Today, the International Labor Organization, which is part of the United Nations, raised alarms about the legal protections that domestic workers get.

"Domestic workers remain, in many, many cases, excluded from worker protections -- starting from minimum wages to limitations of their working hours," says Martin Oelz, a legal specialist at the ILO. "Domestic workers earn less than other workers for the same type of work, and they work much longer hours at the same time."

In order to improve the situation, Oelz says officials and worker's advocates must first raise awareness about domestic workers' rights and create channels for workers and employers to settle disputes.

About the author

Jeremy Hobson is host of Marketplace Morning Report, where he looks at business news from a global perspective to prepare listeners for the day ahead.

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