Domestic Workers in Karnataka: The Battle for Decent Pays & Working Conditions Still Goes on

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The battle of domestic workers in Karnataka for fair pay and working conditions is over 20 years old. However, even at the ascribed minimum pay, the average domestic worker’s pays are not enough even to fulfill the food requirements of the average family, let alone other requirements, compelling women and small girls to toil for all seven days a week in many households.

The split between the two Indias is clearly evident at this close interface amongst the haves and the have-nots, between overseer and domestic help within a household. Domestic workers in the country normally work all seven days a week, 365 days annually. In majority cases, an off, if any, is given unwillingly and is normally unpaid. Not only this, there is no parameter as to how their pays are fixed for a specific work and employers also keep on adding more tasks to the given ones.

Another major thing that workers share is about a separate plate and tumbler maintained for them, how they are not enabled to touch the utensils in which the employer’s food is stored, how few women employers rinse all the utensils washed by the house maids once more with tamarind cleanse them, how the domestic works are not alleged to enter the kitchen or worship place. Caste discrimination remains as powerful as ever.

Domestic workers require being identified as workers and treated in a kind and respectful manner. Moreover they should be given more wages as working in a single home does not pay sufficient, and multiple domestic workers are caught in a routine swirl attempting to work in four-five households to make ends meet.

The backbreaking battle of domestic workers in Karnataka for fair wages and working conditions is about 2 decades ago. Domestic help was incorporated in Karnataka under the Schedule of the Minimum Wages Act in 1992 and then secretly eliminated in the year 1993. Fresh battles made sure its admittance once more in the year 2001 and in a developing measure in the country, pays were fixed in March 2004. However, research finds that the domestic worker’s wages were unmindfully intricate, puzzling and insufficient. The minimum wage notification particulates the following for a six-day week: one for a job for 45 minutes per day should get Rs 249, one hour jobs, Rs 299, and a full 8-hour day Rs. 1699 (for entire month); 10% more for families containing more than four members, and overtime at double rate of wage. The study showed that the beliefs of 45 minutes each job and a six-day were wrong.

However the Supreme Court has taken down arguments in several cases on minimum wages by announcing that minimum pays touch upon all alike, and have to be remunerated regardless of the type of establishment, potential to pay and accessibility of domestic workers at reduced wages, that the employer carries no right to acquit his enterprise of he cannot remunerate his employee a minimal employment wage and that non-payment of minimum pay is bonded labor falling under Article 23 of Indian Constitution. Research have depicted that availability of employment is not based in the level of pays and that reducing pays does not necessarily result in increased employment rate.

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