New rules set to protect housekeepers
Hiring someone under age 15 as a housekeeper will be banned under new “ethics” regulations expected to be implemented in three months, though adherence to the rules will be voluntary.
The regulations also require that housekeepers work no more than six days a week and are allowed at least six days’ leave annually and at least 13 other “holidays” off, as well as maternity leave. Boonsom Namsomboon, secretary-general of the Foundation for Labour and Employment Promotion, said Thailand is joining the ranks of “many countries” in adopting formal “ethics in hiring housekeepers”. The regulations have become necessary due to the rising number of foreigners who work as housekeepers and often live in their employers’ homes, she said.
The regulations ensure mutual benefits for homeowners and housekeepers, protecting the rights and integrity of the latter, she said. The draft regulations are to be submitted to the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare (DLPW) for consideration. If implemented, employers will be encouraged to voluntarily follow the rules in keeping with Thai legal standards and internationally accepted norms, Boonsom said. The regulations include a formal definition of housework, a standard hiring contract, guidance on work safety, measures to prevent discrimination and safeguard worker privacy, and means to allow for skills development and further education. Employers would also have to pay twice the normal rate for overtime and give housekeepers as many as 30 days per year sick leave, a month’s notice of termination, and a “work experience certificate” if they are terminated.
The regulations address the fact that “many employers” did not adhere the 14th Labour Ministerial Regulation for Protection of House Employees, issued in November 2012, Boonsom said. She unveiled the plan to the press on Wednesday alongside Khanchit Manowarangkoon, director of the DLPW’s Division for Informal Worker Protection, and representatives of the Employers’ Confederation of Thailand and the International Labour Organisation. Boonsom urged employers to hire their housekeepers legally, to be mindful of their social responsibilities, international labour standards and human rights, and to help housekeepers access social security or other welfare schemes as needed.