Domestic Workers Across the World: Global and regional statistics and the extent of legal protection

This publication sheds light on the magnitude of domestic work, a sector often “invisible” behind the doors of private households and unprotected by national legislation.


This publication sheds light on the magnitude of domestic work, a sector often “invisible” behind the doors of private households and unprotected by national legislation.

The adoption of new international labour standards on domestic work (Convention No. 189 and its accompanying Recommendation No. 201) by the ILO at its 100th International Labour Conference in June 2011 represents a key milestone on the path to the realization of decent work for domestic workers.
This volume presents national statistics and new global and regional estimates on the number of domestic workers. It shows that domestic workers represent a significant share of the labour force worldwide and that domestic work is an important source of wage employment for women, especially in Latin America and Asia. It also examines the extent of inclusion or exclusion of domestic workers from key working conditions laws. In particular, it analyses how many domestic workers are covered by working time provisions, minimum wage legislation and maternity protection. The results demonstrate that under current national laws, substantial gaps in protection still remain.

The volume concludes with a summary of the main findings and a reflection on the relevance of the newly adopted international standards to extend legal protection to domestic workers.