Although Asia Pacific has more domestic workers than any other part of the world, the report found that the region lags behind other regions in guaranteeing domestic workers the basic work-related rights and protections that other workers have.

These were said to be particularly related to working time, minimum wages and maternity protection. Only domestic workers in the Middle East (many of whom are migrants from Asia) have weaker legal entitlements.

The report estimated that 52.6 million people worldwide, more than four out of five of them women, are employed as domestic workers, a group equivalent to the entire working population of Viet Nam.

Of these, 21.5 million (41 per cent) domestic workers are in Asia Pacific and 19.6 million (37 per cent) in Latin America and the Caribbean.

In Asia Pacific one in thirteen (7.8 percent) of all women with a waged job were domestic workers in 2010.

Despite the significant numbers of people involved, the report found large differences between the rights and conditions experienced by domestic employees and other waged workers, particularly in Asia.

According to the report only three percent of Asia’s domestic workers are entitled to a weekly day of rest, whereas globally more than half of domestic workers have this right.

In addition, only one percent of domestic workers in Asia Pacific have statutory limits to their normal maximum weekly working hours; by contrast, more than three-quarters of their counterparts in Latin America enjoy such protection.

Just 12 percent of domestic workers in Asia Pacific are covered by statutory minimum wage legislation. Only the Middle East has lower coverage.

In all other regions of the world more than six out of seven domestic workers can expect to be paid at least the minimum wage.

For maternity leave and maternity cash benefits, seventy- six percent of Asia Pacific’s domestic workers have no entitlement. By contrast, in Latin America, that has almost the same number of domestic workers, all such workers qualify for maternity leave and a large majority for related benefits.

“Excluding domestic workers from basic labour protection reflects an out-dated view that domestic work is somehow not real work, Malte Luebker, a senior specialist at the ILO’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific and a principal author of the report was quoted to have said.

It was strongly recommended that countries and nations need to recognise that domestic workers do not just care for families, but create value for the economy by allowing more workers, often with valuable skills, to leave the house and take up paid work.

“Domestic workers clearly deserve a better deal,” reiterated author of the report. –

Copyright APP (Associated Press of Pakistan), 2013