Egypt’s House of Trade Union and Worker’s Services announced that MP Nashwa Al-Deeb, along with other 60 parliamentarians, submitted to the Egyptian Parliament last Tuesday a proposal for a bill to regulate domestic work, which will be discussed by the Parliament during its next session on 28 March, local media reports.
The proposal was prepared over a period of two years and included discussions with a number of trade union leaders, legal experts and representatives of some civil society organizations.
To promote decent work for domestic workers, the proposal calls for the establishment of a domestic work department at the Ministry of Manpower to collect data on domestic workers, specify working hours and minimum wages, ensure social and health insurance as well as protection for working women from violence and discrimination.
According to the draft law, it is also prohibited to employ any person in domestic work if they are less than 18-years-old, except with exceptions specified by the concerned authority and with reduced working hours. In the case that this article is violated, they will be punished with a fine of not less than EGP 100,000.
The proposal also calls for employers to be obligated to enter into signed congrats with any domestic worker they hire, which would include the period of the contract, the type and nature of the work, and specified working hours to be for a maximum of six days a week for an average of eight hours a day. The domestic worker is entitled to 13 days of annual leave.
Domestic workers currently do not have any legislative protection as they are excluded from Labor Law No. 12 of 2003, as well as from the proposed new labor bill that is still under discussion before Parliament.
For some refugees in Egypt, domestic work is regarded as the only form of employment as it provides a source of income for their survival. In Egypt, it is estimated that around 2 to 2.5 million children between the ages of 6-15 are also working as either street vendors or domestic workers.