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MOEL pre-announces proposed legislation on employment improvement, etc., of domestic workers

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Jun. 26, 2017


On June 26th (Mon.) the Ministry of Employment and Labor (MOEL) pre-announced proposed legislation on the employment improvement, etc., of domestic workers which would institutionalize the domestic service market having stayed in the informal sphere and strengthen protection for domestic workers.


The legislation was created to address problems that have arisen as domestic services have mostly been provided informally under deals between private persons.


So far domestic service users have been dissatisfied with domestic workers' lack of references and the handling of their disputes with domestic workers and wanted such services to be offered by credible agencies.


*Preferred service providers: government (49.6%), social enterprises (22.6%), non-profit organizations (14.6%)(A Study of Ways to Make Child Care and Domestic Services for Working Women More Professional and Efficient, 2010)


* Points for improvement: workers' references (32.9%), dispute handling (26.5%), reliability (22.8%) (User Perception Survey, 2015)


And domestic workers have not enjoyed protection in terms of various working conditions, including social insurance, because they have not been covered by labor laws.


* In accordance with Article 11 of the Labor Standards Act, workers engaged in  domestic services fall into the category of "people hired for domestic work", and are therefore excluded from the application of labor laws.


Due to these problems felt by domestic service users and workers, the domestic service market has not been activated enough to keep up with the growing demand caused by the growth of dual income families and the elderly population.


Meanwhile, many other countries, including Belgium and France, have made various policy efforts, such as enacting a separate law and introducing a voucher scheme, in order to address the problem of domestic services being traded informally and activate their domestic service markets.


* In Belgium, the concept of a domestic service provider (i.e. domestic service company) was introduced by a separate law. The three-party relationship between users, workers and service providers is defined, and domestic service vouchers are used to provide incentives for service users.


* In France, domestic services are provided under service contracts. (Domestic service providers are considered non-profit businesses and therefore recognized as an exception to the ban on the supply of workers.) Companies purchase domestic service vouchers and then provide them to employees at a cheap price.


The main features of the proposed legislation are outlined below.


① Domestic workers are employed directly by domestic service providers.

Domestic service providers directly employ domestic service workers and take on an employer's responsibility to those workers.

Users make a contract with a service provider to use domestic services and receive services according to the terms of the contract.


②  In principle, domestic workers are covered by labor laws, but there are some exceptions. 


Domestic workers are covered by labor laws, such as the Labor Standards Act, and guaranteed workers' rights, such as mandatory social insurance coverage.


However, considering that they work in private homes and that their working days and hours are difficult to pre-determine, the legislation provides for exceptions to some provisions concerning rest, annual leave, etc.


③ The proposed legislation would promote domestic services and establish a quality control system.


The legislation would encourage an increase in demand for domestic services by introducing domestic service vouchers that can be used by companies, etc., to promote employee welfare and pursue social contribution activities.


Only those which meet certain requirements are certified as service providers. Service providers are evaluated on a regular basis, and the results are made public. 


Kim Kyung-seon, Director-General of MOEL's Youth and Women's Employment Policy Bureau, said, "If the legislation takes effect, it would address long-standing issues surrounding domestic services, such as protecting domestic workers' rights and interests and enhancing the quality of domestic services."


She also explained the expected effects of the proposed legislation by saying, "Furthermore, it would support women's workforce participation, both directly and indirectly, for example by easing the burden of housework and child care on working women and improving the quality of jobs for women returning from a career break."

Last Modifide Date   :   Mon July 10, 2017
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