Domestic workers wait for legal status

Domestic workers are still waiting for the state government to implement a new bill that would give them legal recognition and entitle them to the benefits given to workers in the organised sector.

Written by Ranjani Raghavan | Pune | Published: March 2, 2009 1:52 am

Domestic workers are still waiting for the state government to implement a new bill that would give them legal recognition and entitle them to the benefits given to workers in the organised sector.

It has been two months since the Assembly passed the Domestic Workers’ Welfare Board Bill,said the Pune Shahar Molkarin Sanghatana,an organisation of around 5,000 domestic workers. With elections round the corner,the organisation is hoping that the implementation will happen sooner than later.

Many domestic workers from Pune met in Sangli on Sunday and called on the government to act soon. One of the reasons that the Act is yet to be enforced is that the state has not yet drafted the rules for implementing the act,nor have boards been constituted.

State Labour Minister Nawab Mallik said the first step was the formation of a welfare board. “In a meeting on Tuesday,we will finalise the officials who will staff the welfare boards in every district. Once the boards are constituted,we will begin with the registration of the domestic workers,” said Mallik.

“The state government had promised in the first week of February that the rules would be finalised within a month. We are hoping they will fulfil their promise before the elections. We will travel to Mumbai this week along with Sangli’s Ghar Kamghar Sanghatana to urge the government to draft the rules soon,” said Shardha Wadekar,secretary of Molkarin Sanghatana.

The exact nature of the benefits for domestic workers will be outlined by the rules that will define the Act. Mallik said that the Act will offer pension,provident fund,gratuity,health insurance to the workers and education for the children of the workers and will benefit 12-15 lakh domestic workers in the state.

“We are also drawing up a composite scheme that will provide financial,health benefits to the workers and educational benefits for their children,” he added.

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