The report prepared by the International Labor Organization (ILO) Turkey Office emphasizes that domestic workers, mostly women and most of whom work informally, should be included in more social protection and safe employment in the light of ILO's Domestic Workers Convention No. 189 so that they can work in decent conditions.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) Turkey Office has prepared a report in order to reveal the socio-economic problems and conditions of the unregistered domestic workers, the majority of whom are women, deepened by the global epidemic, and to offer solutions for improving the working conditions of domestic workers.
The report was shared with the public at an online event held on June 17, 2021 with the participation of workers-employer organizations and representatives of public institutions.
Dr. The “View of Domestic Work in Turkey: Scope, Dimension and Problems” Report prepared by Ceyhun Güler examines the current socio-economic and legal status and problems of domestic workers, occupational health and safety, working conditions, employment methods, union rights and organization, inspection and inspection. In this context, it makes policy recommendations for domestic workers to work in decent working conditions and to solve existing problems.
The report, which was prepared within the scope of the “More and Better Jobs for Women” Program carried out by the ILO Turkey Office with the support of Sweden, reflects the comprehensive literature review on the subject, as well as in-depth interviews with domestic workers, representatives of public institutions, workers' and employers' organizations. It also addresses the impact of workers on their working conditions.
Informality and the scarcity of numerical data are the primary problems that affect each other.
Pointing out that the primary problems of domestic workers, the majority of whom are women, are unregistered and insecure employment, the report also emphasizes that informality is one of the most important obstacles to reliably detecting the number of domestic workers and therefore determining the extent of domestic workers' problems and developing solutions for these problems. .
According to TUIK data, more than 90 percent of domestic workers in Turkey are women, and according to the information provided by the unions that organize domestic workers, there are over one million domestic workers in Turkey.
According to the report, the prevalence of unregistered work, workplaces where domestic workers generally consist of private households, employer-employee relations outside the traditional employment structure, and the inability to determine the exact number beyond estimation due to the fact that numerical determinations are mostly based on declarations make it difficult to determine the informality rate, on the other On the other hand, the high level of informality makes it difficult to determine the exact number of domestic workers.
At least 70 percent of domestic workers lack effective social protection
According to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK) data and Social Security Institute (SGK) statistics, the report states that at least 70 percent of domestic workers in Turkey lack effective social protection. gets on it.
While pointing out that the regulations made in 2015 to ensure that domestic workers work insured in Turkey, the report highlights the necessity of including domestic workers in a more effective social protection system.
A more effective and comprehensive social protection mechanism is needed.
According to the report, one of the most important problems in the field of domestic work is that domestic workers in Turkey are outside the scope of the basic laws regulating employment relations, including the labor law, and there is no legal regulation to determine the job descriptions of domestic workers and the scope of their work. This situation creates uncertainty for domestic workers, whose rights and obligations are defined by the Turkish Code of Obligations, and can aggravate their workload.
Legal arrangements to increase registered employment are important for better working standards.
The report states that domestic workers have to work under harsh working conditions in an environment where there is no security, there is no fixed working hours, their job descriptions are uncertain, they are deprived of leave rights, wage standards and security are not determined, and occupational health and safety standards are not determined. He draws attention to the fact that by making regulations and encouraging the registered employment of domestic workers will contribute to the benefit of domestic workers' right to work and standards.
Prominent problems in occupational health and safety, violence and harassment
Emphasizing that many of the occupational health and safety problems faced by domestic workers are preventable, the report states that due to the lack of taking the necessary precautions and lack of awareness, domestic workers are exposed to work accidents or various work-related diseases.
According to the report, domestic workers are under many physical, biological, chemical and psycho-social occupational health and safety risks, and most of the occupational accidents in the field manifest as falls, slips or injuries. Musculoskeletal diseases, risk of transmission and respiratory diseases are among the most common problems faced by domestic workers.
Apart from this, ill-treatment, violence and harassment by the employer against the worker are also mentioned as other problems that draw attention in the report, while the fact that domestic workers generally work in private households and in isolation is stated as one of the reasons for this situation.
According to the report, sexual, psychological and physical abuse, including violence, food deprivation, psychological pressure, false accusations, lack of understanding, contempt and imprisonment, are among the most severe problems faced by domestic workers.
Domestic workers cannot benefit from union rights and freedoms
The report also finds that domestic workers cannot effectively benefit from union rights and freedoms because there is no effective mechanism to ensure this.
According to the report, reasons such as the unique nature of housework and the fact that workplaces consist of private households, the fact that most of the domestic workers are excluded from the scope of the legal regulations regarding working life, irregular and discontinuous work, and the low number of domestic workers working in the workplace are among the factors that make it difficult to organize.
Covid 19 deepened the questions of domestic workers
One of the other findings highlighted by the report is that the global epidemic deepened the questions of domestic workers, most of whom work informally, during this period. During this period, most of the domestic workers lost their jobs, lost their income due to their lack of job security, and at the same time had difficulty in accessing basic rights such as housing, nutrition and health due to income losses.
According to the report, domestic workers could not benefit from social protection measures and the support provided during this period. Workloads and working hours of domestic workers who continued to work during the epidemic period increased, and especially those working in boarding had to work without leave for a long time. In addition, domestic workers who continue to work have an increased risk of contracting the disease and virus.
During the global epidemic, the violence that domestic workers are exposed to has increased both in the working life and in the family and at home. Domestic workers stated that economic violence increased the most in working life, while psychological violence increased most in family and home.
Policy recommendations and demands of domestic workers
The report, which proposes a series of solutions in the light of all these problems, emphasizes that an effective social protection mechanism and an insurance system should be established in order to increase registered employment, especially since the vast majority of domestic workers are unregistered, and also to determine the extent of the problems and to develop solutions for domestic workers. draws attention to the fact that it is essential to determine the exact numbers.
The report also called for special legal arrangements that take into account the unique working conditions and needs of domestic workers, and stated that it is important to implement standard employment contracts, which will be prepared in agreement with the employers and workers and supported by the state, in order for domestic workers to have standard working conditions and rights and to work in decent conditions. so that job descriptions can be more specific.
In the report, which also includes the demands of domestic workers, it is also stated that there are intense demands for domestic workers to be included in the scope of the Labor Law, whose rights and obligations are regulated under the Turkish Code of Obligations, in order for domestic workers to be considered in the same status as other workers, to enjoy the same rights as all other workers, and to prevent informality in the field. .
For all these arrangements, the adoption and use of the ways and methods in ILO's Decent Work for Domestic Workers No. 189 and ILO Recommendation No. 201 are emphasized as a primary element for domestic workers' access to decent work.