To safeguard the interest of domestic workers, the NDA government is readying a national policy incorporating these features, besides a host of benefits, including social security cover and provisions against sexual harassment and bonded labour.

The 'National Policy for Domestic Workers' is likely to be presented before the Union Cabinet soon.

Domestic servants, who stare at an uncertain future when they grow weak with age and are thrown out of their job, will now have the cushion of a social security scheme under which the employer will have a mandatory contribution.

The policy envisages the right to domestic helps to pursue education, a safe work environment and a mechanism for redress of their grievances. Workers and employers will also have the right to form groups and engage with each other for 'collective bargaining'.

A draft note in this regard, prepared by the Director General Labour Welfare (DGLW), was submitted to labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya last week.

"The Domestic Workers Policy has to be framed. Domestic workers are also subjected to exploitation and therefore the welfare and protection of domestic labour force is very important," Dattatreya said.

"The policy framework is on par with the standards of the International Labour Organisation. India has adopted the ILO convention on domestic workers and therefore we have to make a policy for this segment of the society," he said.

Once the policy takes effect, it will be mandatory for the employer, the employee and the intermediary agency that connects the two, to enter into a tripartite agreement, which will have legal sanctity. The draft policy recommends minimum monthly wage for unskilled, semi-skilled, skilled and highly-skilled categories of the domestic workers.

"Highly-skilled and those giving full-time service should be eligible to get a salary of at least Rs 9,000 per month," an official said, adding the policy seeks to empower domestic workers by making this large workforce a services industry over time.

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