Domestic workers

Decent Work for Domestic Workers: Advocating Institutional Reform in the Middle East

This project is an initiative of the Migration and Governance Network - MAGNET. The ILO is working with countries in the Arab States to provide options for reform of national policies and institutions to protect migrant domestic workers rights.

 Access to Justice of Migrant Domestic Workers

In the majority of Arab countries, migrant domestic workers are not covered by the labour law. The overwhelming majority of these workers are women from Asia and Africa who provide labour services in a workplace where rights are not clearly defined by law or in practice.

The ILO believes that achieving effective protection of migrant domestic workers relies on the coherent application of national labour laws and migration policies, the regulation of agents involved in the recruitment process, and the organizing of migrant domestic workers so that they can collectively fight for their rights and fairly bargain living and working conditions.

This regional project adopts a novel approach that seeks to bring together all three dimensions of domestic work reform into one integrated approach. The basis for interventions will be Domestic Workers Convention No.189 and its accompanying Recommendation No. 201. Adopted at the 100th session of the ILO, this landmark treaty went into force in 2013, extending basic labour rights to domestic workers around the globe.


  • Strengthen the ability of national authorities to identify and reflect the principles of Convention No. 189 and Recommendation No. 201;
  • support the establishment of national plans that seek to improve legal frameworks in the domestic work sector; and
  • support line ministries to enforce the labour rights of domestic workers and recognize the value of the work performed by domestic workers. 

Main Activities

  • Organize a regional tripartite conference on decent work for domestic workers;
  • train constituents and key partners on the ILO’s new international legal standards for domestic work; and
  • convene national tripartite workshops to promote the setting of national strategies or action plans on decent work for domestic workers.


  • Increased awareness of the new international normative framework on domestic work among ILO constituents and other key partners;
  • national laws and practices reflect the principles of Convention No. 189 and Recommendation No. 201;
  • knowledge shared on the basis of a regional tripartite conference that took place in October 2012; and
  • national strategies and/or national action plans on Decent Work for Domestic Workers drafted through tripartite social dialogue and submitted to relevant authorities for adoption.