Domestic workers

Making decent work a reality for domestic workers worldwide

Domestic workers comprise a significant part of the global workforce in informal employment and are among the most vulnerable groups of workers. They work for private households, often without clear terms of employment, unregistered in any book, and excluded from the scope of labour legislation. Currently there are at least 53 million domestic workers worldwide, not including child domestic workers, and this number is increasing steadily in developed and developing countries. 83% of domestic workers are women.

Deplorable working conditions, labour exploitation, and abuses of human rights are major problems facing domestic workers. The ILO undertakes to protect the rights of domestic workers, promote equality of opportunity and treatment, and improve working and living conditions. Its global strategy consists of strengthening national capacities and institutions including policy and legislative reforms; promoting the ratification and implementation of the Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No. 189) and Recommendation (No. 201); facilitating the organization of domestic workers and their employers; awareness-raising and advocacy; and development of knowledge base and policy tools.

Key resources

  1. Catalogue of ILO resources on Domestic Work

    This catalogue gives an overview of the most important ILO knowledge resources and policy tools – grouped by categories – and directly accessible by simply clicking on the one you need.

  1. Database on working conditions laws

    Working time, minimum wages and maternity protection data

Key publication

  1. Working around the clock?

    A manual for trainers to help live-in domestic workers count their time.

Photos and videos

  1. The contract

    An animated movie that invites the audience to think about work conditions of migrant domestic workers in Lebanon.