Procrastination in Recognizing the Rights of Domestic Workers in Ethiopia
The 1960 Ethiopian Civil Code regulates domestic working conditions, and it largely depends on employers’ sense of fairness. The Code provides insufficient protection to domestic workers and has failed to facilitate stable domestic labour contracts to the disadvantage of employers. The 2003 labour law (as amended) excludes domestic workers from its sphere of application other than promising that a special regulation will be issued. But there is procrastination in the enactment of the regulation. This article examines the legal gaps in regulating domestic workers, its gender effects and the tenability of the reasons behind the procrastination. To this end, the article examines various sources, including laws, interviews, reports, ILO conventions, and comparative experience of some foreign states. The negative perception over domestic work, misconception about the prospective domestic workers regulation and the absence of interest groups that promote the causes of domestic workers are the major causes of the procrastination on the issuance of a regulatory framework for domestic work. In the common interest of domestic workers and employers, it is argued that a regulation must be issued based on a legally-defined relationship, as opposed to the existing status relationship.
Key termsDomestic work, domestic workers, labour rights, Ethiopia
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