The International Labour Organization (ILO) Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No. 189), aims to promote decent work for all and to ensure fundamental protections and rights to domestic
workers. Domestic workers’ contribution to the economy is substantial by providing critical services to households and enabling others to work outside the home, participate in the labour market and pursue educational and social activities. However, promoting decent work for domestic workers has not been a priority for the Government of Georgia thus far. The harmonization of the Georgian legislation with ILO Convention No. 189 would be essential for domestic workers, especially for women as they constitute the majority of domestic workers.
The ISET Policy Institute (ISET-PI) – in collaboration with UN Women in the scope of the project “Women’s Economic Empowerment in the South Caucasus” (WEESC), funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) – has implemented a Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) to study the prospects and organize a policy dialogue towards the possible ratification of Convention No. 189.
During the process, the RIA team identified and approached a large number of stakeholders, whose opinions were carefully taken into account during the development of the report. A summary of the procedural issues and of the positions of different stakeholders can be found in section VIII of this report (“Public consultation process”).
The Labour Code of Georgia does not cover domestic workers, and they are currently beyond the reach of the protective mechanisms offered by the Code unless they have a contract with an employment agency. Consequently, these workers cannot enjoy similar working conditions as other workers; indeed, they represent one of the most vulnerable categories of employees. The RIA team analysed the problem of poor and/or unsafe working conditions for domestic workers in Georgia, as solving the problem is crucial to ensure decent working conditions for this category of workers. When domestic workers cannot enjoy decent working condition, their well-being and health are at risk, and society itself can suffer severe consequences: an increased probability of abuse and exploitation, payment of unfair and insufficient salaries, unpaid overtime work, unsafe job conditions, the uncertainty of contract terms and stress of the constant search for another source of income, and an increased vulnerability with respect to crises, poverty, old age and health-related issues. The factors causing poor and/or unsafe working conditions for domestic workers in Georgia are grouped into the following four broad categories:
⦁ Insufficient and ineffective legal protection
⦁ Lack of bargaining power for domestic workers
⦁ Informality of domestic work
⦁ Lack of awareness about their civil and labour rights as workers