Understanding and Empowering Domestic Workers In Ghana

Domestic workers have always been part of us. In Ghana, they are like a  part of the family and this relationship has either caused harm or good that is why we write this blog to spell out the tale of Domestic workers in Ghana.

Domestic work is one of the oldest occupations for women in world history. It has links to slavery and various forms of servitude, including colonialism. It is an unregulated and undervalued activity because, in most of the countries, labor laws are not applicable to the domestic workers.

Therefore there’s the need to educate and talk about the responsibilities of Domestic workers and how they should be treated.

Who is a Domestic Worker

A domestic worker is a person who works within an employer’s household. The term “domestic service” applies to the equivalent occupational category. In traditional English contexts, such a person was said to be “in service”. Domestic helpers perform a variety of household services for an individual or a family, from providing care for children and elderly dependents to housekeeping, including cleaning and household maintenance. Other responsibilities may include cooking, laundry and ironing, shopping for food and other household errands.

Domestic Workers

Domestic Workers are prevalent in homes elderly people

Such work has always needed to be done but before the Industrial Revolution and the advent of labour-saving devices, it was physically much harder.

What Does the Law Say about Domestic Workers

The Labour Act of Ghana (Act No. 651 of 2003) defines a domestic worker as “a person who is not a member of the family of a person who employs him or her as house-help” (Section 175). This definition excludes fostered children and persons with kinship relations. Yet, foster children often do domestic work in return for having their school fees paid, while family members sometimes work for pay. The 2000 Population Census defines domestic workers as persons who are engaged to render household services with or without pay (Ghana Statistical Service, 1999). This more open definition captures more situations of domestic work. However, the definition of the unpaid family worker by the Population Census as “a person who helps in running an economic enterprise operated by a member of his or her family without payment of wages or salary”

In a new Convention adopted by ILO in June 2011 (C189), domestic work is defined as the “work performed in or for a household or households”. Domestic work is different from the care work performed by members of a household as part of family responsibility and without creating an employment relationship.

Domestic work includes (in a household or households)

  • Cleaning
  • Washing, ironing (clothes, dishes)
  • Ironing
  • Cooking (Chef)
  • Security guards (home)
  • Gardening
  • Driving (Chauffeur)
  • Child Care/Babysitting
  • ElderCare
  • Taking care of ill persons or persons with disabilities
  • Taking care of animals/pets
  • Assistance in other household daily chores

Here are my 7 ways to empower domestic workers

Empowerwomen.org lists 7 ways to empower domestic Workers, here they are

  1. Fair wages: this is the biggest obstacle to empowering domestic workers. This vulnerable group of society are susceptible to unlawful working hours and low wages.
  2. Fair working hours: improves their quality of life and should be aligned with international labour laws and standards.
  3. Skills development: this goes beyond knowledge in their field but attributes to personal growth and better participation in society.
  4. Access to financial support and financial support: information on retirement funds, funeral & life policies and access to family support services is important for long term planning and saving.
  5. Access to free (or reasonable) health facilities:  household work is physically demanding which takes a toll on the body. This is a great key to improve the physical and mental well being of domestic workers.
  6.  National and regional campaigns are instrumental in raising awareness and informing both employers and employees on the rights of domestic workers. This will decrease exploitation and protect vulnerable groups in society.
  7. Governments must introduce laws and policies targeted at protecting domestic workers. Governments must set an example by protecting vulnerable groups and punishing those who exploit marginalised people.

Average Salary of A domestic Worker In  Ghana

According to salaryexplorer.com, A person working in Cleaning and Housekeeping in Ghana typically earns around 1,840 GHS per month. Salaries range from 1,320 GHS (lowest average) to 2,790 GHS (highest average, the actual maximum salary is higher).

This is the average monthly salary including housing, transport, and other benefits. Salaries vary drastically between different Cleaning and Housekeeping careers.

Domestic Workers

Domestic Jobs are very common in Ghana and we all identify their importance in Our Households, therefore, there’s the need for these people to be treated well, to motivate and ginger them to do more.

We’ve heard of wicked and agitated domestic workers who have gone the extra mile to register their displeasure and request to be treated well. We enjoy living in a peaceful environment and this would continue if we treat one another the way they ought to be treated.

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