10th anniversary of the ILO Convention 189 on Decent Work for domestic workers News 10th anniversary of the ILO Convention 189 on Decent Work for domestic workers

10th anniversary of the ILO Convention 189 on Decent Work for domestic workers

2 April 2021
All partners

Save the Date: In June 2021, the ILO Convention 189 on Decent Work for domestic workers will celebrate its 10th anniversary. To date, seven EU Member States have ratified the Convention. Thus, the issue of improving domestic and care workers’ rights remains more than ever a topical issue. The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted both the essential contributions of those workers to our societies and the precarious working and living conditions a vast majority of them still face.

The 10th Anniversary marks an important milestone to take stock of the progress made and the challenges ahead. EFFE is commited along with European partners, the Commission and ILO’s Brussels’ office to organize an online event on June 28-29 2021, which will outline practices and policies to enhance the situation of personal and household services workers.

Live interpretation will be available in English, French, Italian, German, Polish, Romanian and Spanish.


In order to foster exchanges among participants, a gathering space will be available on Wonder for a virtual come togethers at the end of panels. Participants will have the opportunity to have informal chats with the various panelists as well as with the other conference participants.

Monday 28th June 2021

Introductory session (10:30 -12:00)

This session will introduce the event, recall the significance of the adoption of ILO C189 and outline the current challenges of the domestic work sector and the C189 ratification process in the European Union.

Panel 1 – Labour law and social protection frameworks: from regulatory gaps to full recognition of domestic workers’ rights (14:00 -15:15) 

Objective of the panel : despite the adoption of ILO Convention 189, many domestic workers still suffer from poor labour law and social protection. So far, only seven EU Member States have ratified the Convention.Amongst the 6.3 million formal domestic workers working in the EU, nearly 2 million of them do not enjoy standard labour rights and social protection as they belong to specific derogatory regulations. Therefore, this panel will address the general regulative exemptions and gaps which still apply to domestic workers. It will discuss how decision makers can set up more supportive regulatory frameworks and present initiatives aimed at ratifying ILO Convention 189, improving national regulations and fostering social dialogue in the sector (towards a better representation and structuration of the sector).

Moderator: Mark Bergfeld, Director of Property Services & UNICARE at UNI Global Union


Q&A session with the audience

Panel 2 – Tackling undeclared work in domestic work: challenges and successful practices (15:45 – 17:00)

Objective of the panel: An appropriate labour law and social protection framewo rk does not necessarily prevent undeclared work in the domestic sector. Thus, at least 3,1 million domestic workers are undeclared in the EU. The decision to hire a domestic worker formally or on the undeclared market is driven by many factors such as the relative cost and the administrative complexity, as well as the affordability of doing so in relation to a user’s income and need. Therefore, while there are various instruments that contribute to reducing undeclared work in the domestic work sector, this panel will focus on measures aimed at reducing the cost of formally hiring a domestic worker (e.g. social-fiscal incentives), at improving detection and at reducing the administrative complexity.

ModeratorKerstin Howald, Political Secretary for Tourism and Domestic Work sectors, EFFAT


Q&A session with the audience

Tuesday 29th June 2021

Panel 3 – Guaranteeing the effective enforcement of domestic workers’ rights (9:00 – 10:15)

Objective of the panel: Even in countries where the labour and social protection regulatory frameworks could be considered “satisfactory”, we witness a weak enforcement of these rights. Therefore, this panel will present various national and local initiatives aimed at improving the enforcement of labour and social protection standards for domestic workers. It will notably address the issues of access to social protection, domestic workers’ professionalisation and health & safety prevention measures.

ModeratorKarin Pape, Regional coordinator for Europe, IDWF


Q&A session with the audience

Panel 4 – Digital platforms and domestic workers’ rights (10:45 – 12:00)

Objective of the panel: Digital platforms offer opportunities for opening up employment to greater participation while at the same time having the potential to expand on precariousness in the labour market. Therefore, this panel will explore how online platforms and more globally the “gig economy”, could act as a virtuous model to strengthen domestic workers’ status. It is anticipated that both the advantages and risks of digital solutions for domestic workers, including the latest regulatory developments both at European and national levels will also be discussed.

ModeratorThomas Bignal, Policy Manager, EASPD


Q&A session with the audience

Panel 5 – Domestic workers & migration (13:30 – 14:45)

Objective of the panel: This session will discuss how decision makers can improve the situation of migrant domestic workers (MDW) in Europe by improving regular pathways for migration, implementing regularisation schemes, and addressing particular challenges for migrant domestic workers’ labour rights.

ModeratorAude Boisseuil, General Delegate, EFFE


Q&A session with the audience

Closing session: Improving domestic workers’ rights at European level (15:15 – 17:00)

ModeratorLieve Verboven, Director of the ILO Office for the European Union and the Benelux countries

Key political recommendations by C189 Alliance partners:

Responses and comments by European stakeholders and decision makers:


For further information, contact Aude Boisseuil, aude.boisseuil@effe-homecare.eu


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