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Colombia ratifies the Domestic Workers Convention
an article by International Labour Organization

On 9 May 2014, the Government of Colombia deposited with the International Labour Office the instrument of ratification of the Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No. 189). Colombia is the fourteenth ILO member State and the eight Latin American member State to ratify this instrument that seeks to improve the working and living conditions of tens of millions of domestic workers worldwide.

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In transmitting the instrument of ratification, the Permanent Representative of Colombia to the United Nations Office in Geneva, Ambassador Juan José Quintana, stated: “I am very pleased to have the opportunity to deposit the instrument of ratification of Convention No. 189, which brings to 61 the number of international labour Conventions ratified by Colombia.

The Ministry of Labour, Mr Rafael Pardo, presented the Convention to the Congress and defended its constitutionality before the Constitutional Court. He also gave impulse to the adoption of legislation that implements the Convention and favours domestic workers. In this regard, legislation was approved that allowed paying social security contributions for domestic employees working for periods of less than one month, thus ensuring that such workers are covered under pension, occupational risk and compensation fund schemes according to the number of days worked.

Moreover, a significant increase was registered in the number of domestic workers affiliated to family allowance schemes that grew from 9,000 in 2012 to more than 30,000 in 2013. Therefore, at the time Convention No. 189 will enter into force for Colombia, its domestic legislation will not only be in conformity with the Convention but also ensure and facilitate its full implementation.”

In receiving the instrument of ratification of Convention No. 189 by Colombia, the Director of the International Labour Standards Department, Ms Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, stated: “I am particularly pleased that today’s ratification of Convention No. 189 by Colombia confirms and reinforces the leading role of Latin American countries in endorsing the Convention, thus ensuring that domestic workers enjoy the same basic labour rights as other workers.

This Convention aims to afford long overdue protection to that shadow, female-dominated category of workers often excluded from nation labour legislation and therefore deprived from basic labour rights that the majority of workers enjoy, such as limits on hours of work, weekly rest days, annual paid holidays, minimum wages and social security coverage. The ratification by Colombia confirms that the momentum around the Domestic Workers Convention remains undiminished with more ratifications expected in the very near future.”

More information on Convention No. 189 and ILO’s work on domestic workers may be found here.

[Editor's note. According to the ILO, the convention is already in force in Bolivia, Paraguay, Nicaragua and Uruguay, as well as Italy, Mauritius and the Philippines. It has not been ratified and, of course, is not in force, by any of the richest countries in the world.]

(Click here for a Spanish version of this article or here for a French version)


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This report was posted on May 26, 2014.