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EFP Launches Code of Conduct for Employers of Domestic Workers.

KARACHI: The Employers Federation of Pakistan has launched a Code of Conduct for employers of domestic workers in a tripartite meeting, represented by more than 100 representatives from Employers, Workers Federations, civil societies, and officers from the labour department and the ILO.

Addressing the launching ceremony, Shariq Ahmed, Secretary Labor & Human Resource Development Department Sindh, stated that the code of conduct will help promote decent working conditions and protect the rights of domestic workers. Domestic workers, who represent a large portion of the informal economy, are deprived of their fundamental rights and face numerous challenges, including low wages, poor working conditions, harassment, and various forms of abuse. He appreciated the efforts and commitments of EFP in promoting decent work for all and stated that the code will provide the basis for legislation on domestic workers in Sindh.

Geir Tonstol, Country Director ILO Pakistan Office, highlighted the importance of ILO and its normative framework in promoting decent work globally, in coordination with its tripartite constituents. He emphasized that implementing the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and other ILO Conventions like Convention 189 will pave the path to promoting decent work for domestic workers. He acknowledged the national laws for domestic workers and stated that laws and their implementation go hand in hand. Geir also appreciated the EFP for taking the initiative to develop a code of conduct for the employers of domestic workers in Sindh Province and expressed hope that this code of conduct would serve as a guideline to initiate discussions and lead to the formulation of a law for domestic workers in Sindh. He reiterated the ILO’s technical support to its tripartite constituents in promoting decent work for all in Pakistan, including domestic workers.

Feroz Alam, Vice President of EFP, welcomed the participants, stating that the EFP is at the forefront of promoting Fundamental Principles and Rights at work to realize decent work for all. He emphasized that domestic workers are an integral part of our lives, caring for our children and helping us manage our household responsibilities. Therefore, it is our responsibility to give them respect and provide them with good working conditions. Feroz pointed out that domestic workers are an important source of employment for those with low education levels, particularly females, and emphasized the need to regulate their employment and working conditions. He stated that the code of conduct would help bring behavioural changes and recognition to domestic workers.

Majyd Aziz, Former President of EFP, stated that the EFP is fully committed to promoting compliance with international standards and social justice to create an inclusive, equitable, and prosperous society. He pledged and committed to providing decent working conditions to workers in his house and businesses, urging all present at the ceremony, particularly members of EFP, to treat their housemaids with respect and dignity.

Razi Haider, project coordinator, briefed about the contribution and achievements of the PRS/STRIDE Project.

Ms. Aya Matsuura, ILO Gender Specialist, appreciated EFP’s initiatives, stating that this will provide the basis for recognition of the rights of domestic workers. She pointed out that Convention 189 related to domestic workers provides the same rights to domestic workers as available to other workers, including minimum wage and working conditions.

Rao Zahid, Deputy Secretary, Labor Department, Government of Punjab, made a detailed presentation on the Punjab Domestic Workers Act and shared some of the challenges they are facing and its implementation, particularly the coverage of domestic workers under the Social Security Scheme and monitoring materials.

Waqar Memon, Secretary-General, PWF, appreciated EFP efforts, stating that it is a step in the right direction to recognize and provide the rights of domestic workers. He also emphasized the need to formulate laws for protecting the rights of domestic workers in Sindh.

Syed Nazar Ali, Secretary-General of EFP, highlighted the salient features of the code of conduct, which has been developed with the support of ILO and in consultation with all stakeholders, to foster decent working conditions for domestic workers. The code is a voluntary tool and offers guidance to employers of domestic workers on the terms of employment to uphold equitable practices and positive working relationships.

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