Rights & Dignity for Domestic Workers in Punjab
The rights of domestic workers in Pakistan were neglected since long. There was no legal mechanism for the protection of labor rights of these workers. However, realizing the importance of domestic work, in February 2019, the Govt. of Punjab introduced “Punjab Domestic Workers Act 2019” to enforce the rights of the domestic workers. The law envisages the provisions for protecting the rights of the domestic workers, regulating their terms of employment, working conditions of service and provision of social protection and welfare.
The hard labor of such workers is exploited by their owners. The barely minimum wages don’t commensurate with their work output. Their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing also lack adequate attention. Being illiterate, majority of the domestic workers are least aware of the new law.
In this background, WISE started the on-going project “Respect & dignity of Domestic Workers” in collaboration NHRF in 2019. In order to create much-needed awareness, WISE organized awareness sessions with domestic workers, published flyers, brochures in simple Urdu language for better understanding of domestic workers’ rights. More than 600 women were reached through awareness sessions, organized in various communities. They are motivated the get registered with Social Security Institution, but problem is many of them do not have national identity cards – a prerequisite for registration.
Through these activities, domestic workers have got awareness of their rights and the process of their registration for social security cards has been geared up. In the wake of domestic workers serious level of vulnerability, at parallel level, WISE has been advocating for the effective implementation of the law, through creating public awareness, sensitization and efficient implementation of the law. For the purpose, meetings were arranged with policy makers, legislatures, social researchers and trade unions. The said law if implemented in letter and spirit, would help improve the working conditions and lives of domestic workers.
- Formed Women Domestic Workers Union at Provincial Level
- So far over 1130 women domestic workers have been imparted rights awareness in different communities of Lahore & Sheikhupura on “The Punjab Domestic Workers Act 2019”
- 800 domestic workers joined sessions on Basic Literacy, Occupational Health & Safety, Reproductive Health & Psycho-Social Well-Being & Stress Management
- So far, 250 Domestic Workers have been organized into 10 area-wise groups
- During lockdown, Ration and Health & Hygiene items were provided among 225 domestic workers with indirect beneficiaries as 1342.
- So far, 250 female domestic workers have been facilitated to get registered with Punjab Employment Social Security Institution (PESSI)
- 5 media forums have been organized to highlight the domestic workers issues. The discussions of these forums were duly covered by the newspaper and TV channel; having circulation and viewership in lakhs.
- 596 persons attended virtual café on the right and dignity of domestic workers
- 6 domestic workers were provided legal assistance to get relief from abusive and violent marriage. The cases of these workers are still in the Family Courts and a pro bono lawyer, hired by WISE, is pursuing these cases.
- Provided First AID Box to 200 women domestic workers
- 12 advocacy and lobbying meetings were organized with the PESSI, Labor & Law Departments and concerned minsters and parliamentarians.
- 5 short documentary were developed to highlight the issues of women domestic workers
- Produced a critical analysis based on the two-year assessment of the DWs Law and progress made by the govt of Punjab since the passage of the law. During the period, WISE also published the updated version of the «Cruel Numbers» based on the findings of our on-going monitoring of the incidents of violence against domestic workers. Besides; An issue based informatory Flyer in Urdu language was produced and largely disseminated to aware the employers, employees, CSO actors, community activists and domestic workers