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Migrant Domestic Workers Rights on the Threshold of Czech Households

Inventaire des pratiques

Migrant Domestic Workers Rights on the Threshold of Czech Households

Primary GCM Objectives

Principes directeurs du Pacte mondial*

*All practices are to uphold the ten guiding principles of the GCM. This practice particularly exemplifies these listed principles.

Objectifs de développement durable (ODD)

Dates

2012 - 2014

Type de pratique

Project/Programme

Geographic Scope

Régions:

Sous-région:

Locale:

Prague

Résumé

Migrant women domestic workers face various forms of discrimination on grounds of nationality and gender and in relation to their work experiences of unpaid overtime, low wages, and restrictions on personal freedom. Many are undocumented, engaged in unregulated work and lacking knowledge about their working or civil rights. The employment of migrant women as domestic workers is still an issue in Czechia. This is partly due to the difficulties with work/life balance and care arrangements, which is a result of the institutional framework of the family that reflects traditional gender stereotyped attitudes and practice in the division of household work and care in families, and employment policy that reflects the unavailability of part-time and flexible working arrangements and expensive or unavailable childcare services. This situation results in a heavy double burden for women, who then seek affordable services or assistance with childcare and household work. However, in employing migrant women as cheap labour, families are reproducing gender inequality both inside the family and globally between groups of women. Migrant domestic workers form part of the informal economy due to their undocumented status and due to the unregulated nature of the work. The women face various forms of discrimination on the grounds of gender or racial or ethnic origin, and it can be also on the grounds of unregulated work that often includes excessive working hours, low wages, and restrictions in personal freedom.

The project advocated for equal opportunities for migrant women domestic workers, for improvement in their working conditions and often difficult position in society. The project focused on:

  1. Migrant women domestic workers in providing direct counselling and workshops
  2. Employers in promoting standards for fair working conditions
  3. The general public in raising awareness through a communication campaign
  4. Policy makers in seeking their support to put in place the legal conditions necessary

Research was carried out on the situation and experience of migrant women domestic workers to develop a knowledge base to inform the change needed. The project employed a multidimensional concept of poverty. It took account of income deprivation, as well as entrapment of migrant women domestic workers, where this work is part of the shadow economy with no formal protection or standards for working conditions. The aim was to enhance quality employment conditions, access to quality supports, and inclusion through better incomes and working conditions for these workers.

The project included a broad range of activities including:

  • A unique communication strategy
  • Innovation in setting standards in the employment of migrant domestic workers
  • Legal and social counselling to migrant women
  • Political advocacy to ratify the ILO Convention on Domestic Workers

Organisations

Principale(s) organisation(s) de mise en œuvre

Association for Integration and Migration

Partenaires impliqués

Association for integration and migration

Organisations partenaires/donatrices

People In Need
Oglivy & Mather
Economics Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences

Bénéfice et impact

The project provided individual legal and social counseling for migrant domestic workers as well as workshops for migrant domestic workers and employees of NGOs working with migrant women. Altogether, 345 women and 34 men were supported by this practice. This included migrant women who received free legal and social counseling, and participated in instructional courses and workshops, as well as women and men representing NGOs working with migrant women who participated in a specialised course for NGOs.

This direct work was supported by a special section of the website covering practical information and contacts for migrant domestic workers. The website of the whole project was divided into three sections: one for the migrant women including important information about their rights and responsibilities; one for the general public including the video spot with the ten commandments as well as research results and other important information; and one for the media focused on the communication campaign including press releases, photos, videos from the conferences as well as information leaflets to download.

Practical information in different languages (English, Russian, Ukrainian) was provided on: residence regulation in Czechia including housing and health insurance with important contacts; citizenship including new and updated information on new regulations; employment; entrepreneurship; social benefits; education; and counseling and contacts.

The potential for lasting change in the conditions of migrant women domestic workers lies in the ratification of the ILO Convention on Domestic Workers. This would have a positive impact on their working conditions through formalizing work relations and introducing control mechanisms.

The project collected the first data on the phenomenon of migrant women domestic workers in Czechia to inform stakeholders and public debate. Meetings and presentations for relevant policy-makers were organised. The project and the research results were presented to the Government Council for Equal Opportunities of Women and Men and to the Department for Equality of Women and Men of the Government Administration Office. The project generated interest and discussion both in Czech society and at a political level. Cooperation with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and with the Department for Equal Opportunities for Women and Men of the Government Office was a positive result of this project.

Overall, the project made significant strides in addressing the vulnerable situation of migrant domestic workers and promoting their rights and dignity.

Principales leçons

Through its multidimensional approach, the project uncovered key lessons about the challenges faced by migrant domestic workers. It highlighted the prevalence of discrimination, the impact of unregulated work conditions, and the need for legal protections. The initiative also revealed societal attitudes towards domestic work and the importance of advocating for fair treatment. Additionally, it underscored the potential for positive change through awareness campaigns, legal advocacy, and collaboration with policymakers.

Recommandations(if the practice is to be replicated)

Based on the project's outcomes, several recommendations can be made. Firstly, there is a need for continued advocacy to ratify the ILO Convention on Domestic Workers to formalize work relations and improve conditions. Secondly, efforts should focus on expanding support services, such as legal counseling and practical information, to reach more migrant domestic workers. Thirdly, awareness campaigns should continue to challenge societal perceptions and promote fair treatment of domestic workers. Lastly, collaboration with policymakers and government agencies should be sustained to ensure lasting policy changes and support for migrant women's rights.

Innovation

The project employed innovative strategies to address the complex issues faced by migrant domestic workers in the Czech republic. One notable approach was the creation of a bogus agency to spark public debate and raise awareness about the plight of these workers. This unconventional method garnered significant attention and contributed to changing societal perceptions. Additionally, the project's emphasis on setting standards for fair employment through the "Ten Commandments of a Fair Employer" initiative demonstrated a proactive stance towards improving working conditions. Moreover, the use of multimedia tools, such as videos and websites, facilitated outreach and education in multiple languages, enhancing accessibility for migrant workers.

Overall, the project's innovative approaches paved the way for meaningful change and increased visibility of migrant women's rights issues. It opened up debate on the situation of migrant women domestic workers both among the general public and politicians. It promoted new standards for the employment of these women. It provided practical support for 345 women and 34 men.

The potential for sustainability of the project lies in having created the conditions for the potential ratification of the ILO Convention on Domestic Workers. The Association for Integration and Migration is continuing its focus on this process of ratification and on the issues of the rights of migrant women, in areas such as public health insurance and position in the labor market.

Média

Do you know who cleans your place?

Video: Do you know who cleans your place?

Date de soumission:

10 mai 2024

*Toutes les références au Kosovo doivent être comprises dans le contexte de la résolution 1244 (1999) du Conseil de sécurité des Nations Unies.