W.P. (C) 1389/2018
Fair working conditions for domestic workers

Summary :

Common Cause, along with the National Platform For Domestic Workers (NPDW) and Aruna Roy, has filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court praying for directions by the Court to ensure fair and humane working conditions for domestic workers. 

The petition has been filed before the Supreme Court to urgently intervene and acknowledge domestic help as a “service for pay”, lay down guidelines for protection of human rights of domestic workers and issue appropriate writ, order or direction to the Union to take measures to ameliorate their condition by inter alia notification of minimum wages, compulsory weekly and annual paid leaves, extension of maternity leave benefits, collective bargaining through organized legal unions, first response complaints authority and extending socio economic rights of pension and healthcare as provided to the workers of organized sector.

The petition argues that in light of legal vacuum created due to absence of a statute protecting domestic workers, interim guidelines should be issued for safeguarding the human rights and interest of domestic workers inside private homes. Among other things, they should have maximum 8 hours of duty per day, weekly rest, the right to paid leaves, notice of termination and one month’s salary in lieu of notice of termination, in line with ILO Convention 189, until a law is brought in place.

The petition also prays that domestic workers be included under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 in all states' as well as the central schedule, and that a Committee of Experts should be appointed under the supervision of the Supreme Court to suggest means to regulate domestic workers’ employment agencies, terms and conditions of dignified employment of domestic workers as well as setting up of a mechanism for dispute resolution.

The petition was admitted on 22 November 2018.