I welcomed the adoption of the Decent Work for Domestic Workers Convention and Recommendation at the 2011 International Labour Conference of the International Labour Organisation. I recently attended this year’s International Labour Conference in Geneva and chaired an Informal Ministerial on the subject of Domestic Workers. Also as part of Ireland’s Presidency I ensured the conclusion of a Council Decision which authorises EU Member States to ratify the Convention. The European Parliament must now consent to the Council Decision and the timeframe for this depends on European Parliament procedures. However I understand Parliament will decide by November of this year. If as expected, Parliament consents to the Council Decision, I can move forward with the ratification process.
In tandem with this work at EU level, at National level my officials have carried out an assessment of the implications of ratifying the International Labour Organisation’s Convention 189 on Domestic Workers. The Attorney General has also confirmed to me that there are no legal obstacles to Ireland’s ratification of the Domestic Workers Convention. It is important to note, that domestic workers are protected by virtue of the fact that the full suite of employment rights legislation, including that of redress for violations of their employment rights, apply to domestic workers in the same way as they apply to other categories of employees in Ireland. Also it is worth pointing out that NERA has carried out a programme of inspections involving Domestic Workers as well as continuing to respond to any complaints it receives from Domestic Workers.
A voluntary Code of Practice for Persons Employed in Other People’s Homes was developed under the Industrial Relations Act 1990. The Code sets out certain employment rights and practices for persons employed in other people’s homes and encourages good practice and compliance with the law in such employment situations. In any proceedings before a court, or a workplace relations dispute resolution body, a code of practice shall be admissible in evidence and any provision of the code which appears to the court, body or officer concerned to be relevant to any question arising in the proceedings shall be taken into account in determining that question.