Kerala drafts bill to ensure job security, minimum wage, pension for domestic workers, home nurses

PK Manikandan

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Representational Image | Photo: Mathrubhumi / Sajeevan nn

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government has drafted a Bill, the Domestic Workers (Regulation and Welfare) Act, to guarantee job security for domestic care workers and home nurses in the state. The government aims to ensure minimum wages and pensions for such workers in the state.

Kerala is the first state in the country to formulate a bill to provide legal immunity to domestic workers by recognising them as 'workers'. Domestic workers, predominantly women, are often mistreated and cheated on by agencies and employers.

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Apart from ending such unfair practices and keeping a tab on agencies offering domestic workers, the bill also aims to secure minimum wages and pensions for workers.

The draft bill will be tabled in the next Kerala assembly session. The bill also stipulates that agencies should register with a soon-to-be-constituted government board. The agencies failing to do so are liable to pay a fine of Rs 10,000 or face a one-year jail term or both.

Agencies and employers should ensure workers receive proper wages, adequate leave, health benefits, allowances, and job security.

Meanwhile, the government would set up a board to ensure domestic workers receive proper welfare and benefits from employers.

Pensions are assured for workers above 65 years of age. Financial help for accidents, medical emergencies, marriage of daughters and housing and education loans will also be offered.

Kerala has more than 15 such welfare boards for farmers, lottery sellers, and many other organised and unorganised workers in the state. Recently, the state had formed a similar board for workers engaged in employment guarantee schemes.

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