Law for domestic help on anvil

Law for domestic help on anvil

Noting that women engaged as domestic help are “most vulnerable” to sexual harassment in the country, the panel has suggested that the government modify the definitions of ‘aggrieved woman’ and ‘workplace’ in the proposed legislation to bring in a grievance redressal mechanism for them.

The committee underlined that with the inclusion of domestic worker under the new bill, definition of employer would have to be expanded by adding house owners under it.

“The definition of employer may accordingly be modified,” the committee recommended in its report tabled in Rajya Sabha on Thursday.  The panel was headed by Congress MP Oscar Fernandes.

The parliamentary committee pulled up the Women and Child Development Ministry for “categorically” excluding domestic workers from the purview of the proposed law.

It dismissed the Ministry’s contention that there would be “practical difficulties” in applying the proposed law within the households to protect domestic workers against sexual harassment as no code of conduct could be laid down within the household. The panel was also not convinced with the Ministry’s argument that it “consciously” kept out domestic workers from the ambit of the proposed law as there was no policy yet to lay down their terms and conditions of service and security of work.

The committee pointed out in its report that support for inclusion of domestic workers in the proposed legislation came from “almost all the stakeholders”.

Extending its support to the suggestion, Punjab government said exclusion of domestic workers from the ambit of the proposed bill would make it discriminatory in nature.

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