Code of Conduct for Employers of Domestic Workers Launched

Code of Conduct for Employers of Domestic Workers Launched

Karachi, February 26, 2024 – In a landmark development aimed at improving the working conditions and protecting the rights of domestic workers, the Employers Federation of Pakistan (EFP) has introduced a comprehensive Code of Conduct.

The launch took place during a tripartite meeting attended by over 100 representatives from various stakeholders, including employers, workers federations, civil societies, and officials from the labor department and the International Labor Organization (ILO).

Addressing the significance of this initiative, Shariq Ahmed, Secretary Labor & Human Resource Development Department Sindh, emphasized that the newly unveiled code of conduct is a crucial step towards promoting decent working conditions and safeguarding the rights of domestic workers. He underscored the challenges faced by domestic workers, including inadequate wages, substandard working conditions, harassment, and abuse, and expressed confidence that the code would serve as a foundation for future legislation concerning domestic workers in the Sindh province.

Geir Tonstol, Country Director of the ILO Pakistan Office, reiterated the importance of adhering to international labor standards, particularly the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, in ensuring decent work globally. He commended the efforts of the EFP in spearheading the development of the code of conduct and emphasized the need for its effective implementation in tandem with existing national laws. Tonstol extended the ILO’s technical support to all stakeholders involved in promoting decent work, including the welfare of domestic workers in Pakistan.

Feroz Alam, Vice President of the EFP, welcomed participants and stressed the indispensable role played by domestic workers in society. He emphasized the moral obligation of employers to provide respectful and conducive working environments for domestic workers, who often contribute significantly to household responsibilities. Alam highlighted the code’s potential to instigate behavioral changes and enhance recognition of the invaluable contribution of domestic workers.

Majyd Aziz, Former President of EFP, reaffirmed the federation’s commitment to upholding international labor standards and fostering social justice. He urged employers, including EFP members, to treat domestic workers with dignity and respect, underscoring the need for inclusivity and equity in society.

The project coordinator, Razi Haider, provided insights into the contributions and accomplishments of the PRS/STRIDE Project, underscoring its role in advancing the welfare of domestic workers.

Ms. Aya Matsuura, ILO Gender Specialist, lauded the EFP’s initiative as a significant step towards recognizing the rights of domestic workers. She emphasized that the code of conduct aligns with international standards, particularly Convention 189, which grants domestic workers the same rights as other workers, including minimum wage and suitable working conditions.

Rao Zahid, Deputy Secretary of the Labor Department, Government of Punjab, shared insights into the Punjab Domestic Workers Act and outlined the challenges encountered in its implementation. He highlighted efforts to extend social security coverage to domestic workers and enhance monitoring mechanisms.

Waqar Memon, Secretary-General of the PWF, commended the EFP’s endeavors, emphasizing the need for legislative measures to protect the rights of domestic workers in Sindh.

Syed Nazar Ali, Secretary-General of the EFP, underscored the key features of the code of conduct, developed in collaboration with the ILO and stakeholders. He emphasized its voluntary nature and its role in guiding employers towards fostering equitable practices and positive working relationships with domestic workers.

The launch of the Code of Conduct for Employers of Domestic Workers marks a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts to improve the welfare and rights of this vital segment of the workforce, signaling a collective commitment towards achieving decent work for all.