Peru domestic workers win historic law

Congress approves
Domestic Workers Law

On Saturday 5 September, the Peru Congress approved a law guaranteeing the rights of domestic workers. This is the culmination of decades of grassroots organizing, nationally and internationally.

For more information contact: Leddy Mozombite Linares

Since 2011, when the ILO passed Convention 189 which recognizes domestic workers as workers, Leddy Mozombite Linares, general secretary of the Federacion Nacional de Trabajadoras y Trabajadores del Hogar Peru (FENTTRAHOP – National Domestic Workers Federation of Peru), has spearheaded a campaign to get the Peruvian government to agree legislation. First it had to ratify the Convention, which it did two years ago; then to vote for the legislation FENTTRAHOP presented based on the Convention. This was enacted on 5 September after months of organizing despite the Covid-19 pandemic which hit domestic workers very hard: many lost their jobs while others were infected as a result of having to work without protective equipment. 

Ms Mozombite Linares issued a video saying:

“Our struggle achieved a historic victory: Congress passed a new law guaranteeing our full rights without discrimination. This is recognition of the value of the remunerated caring work which is being done by half a million domestic workers in Peru. Our slogan was: ‘This will be the law.’ And today we can say: ‘It is the law!’”

She sent greetings to all domestic workers, affiliated and non-affiliated, inviting them to continue and strengthen their organizing. She called on Peru’s President to sign the law as soon as possible so domestic workers can do their job in conditions of safety and dignity. She thanked the trade union movement, the Global Women’s Strike (GWS) and all the organizations and individuals who supported their efforts. Ms Mozombite Linares is herself the Peru coordinator of the GWS which is based in a number of countries.

The new domestic workers law includes:

·      A written employment contract.

·      Workers to be paid weekly, fortnightly or monthly according to the contract.

·      The minimum wage will apply to domestic workers – no one is to be paid less than that. Food and lodgings which the employer must provide are in addition to the wage.

·      An 8-hour day or 48-hour week. Overtime will be voluntary and paid on top.

·      The minimum age of employment will now be 18 – no child labour.

·      30 days paid holidays after one year of work.

·      30 March, Domestic Workers’ Day, will be a paid day off.

·      Maternity rights.

·      Forbids all discrimination and sexual harassment.

·      The right to healthcare.

·      The right to join and form a union and to collective bargaining.