New Delhi: Imagine your domestic maid taking a week off every week! Well, National Advisory Council Chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s recent recommendation in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for betterment of domestic workers is a step ahead in that regard.

The NAC has proposed fixing uniform minimum wages for maids irrespective of gender apart from granting them weekly off and annual leave .

Asking the PMO to include these measures in the new policy, the NAC has also recommended ensuring security of female workers during the working hours.

Reacting promptly to the letter, the PMO has written to the Labour Ministry for the follow up on the matter.

Labour Secretary P Chaturvedi said, “A letter had come to us from the PMO 10 days back. We have adopted a two-pronged strategy. One is about welfare of domestic workers under the various social security schemes and the other is preparing the guidelines for the policy for domestic workers.”

According to sources, NAC in its recommendations has proposed Rs 115 as daily minimum wages to an estimated 45 lakh domestic workers in India and give them fifteen paid leaves in a year.

According to sources, the government has already sent a Cabinet note to include the domestic workers under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana. The Labour Ministry is also preparing model guidelines to bring the domestic workers under the social security net.

In its recommendation the NAC had already said that the policy should affirm the equality of domestic workers with other wage workers, so that domestic workers are treated unbiased.

The council has also advised that the policy should move towards ensuring regulated conditions of work. With exploitation in mind, the council had also asked the domestic workers to be registered with the state labour department.

The NAC has also asked the government to frame larger labour rights guidelines where the state shall take effective measures to include domestic workers in the existing labour legislations and where such inclusion is not possible it becomes the responsibility of the Central Government to ensure that domestic workers’ right as workers are regulated effectively.

JPN/Bureau