Brazil gives more rights to domestic workers

GMT 20:15 2015 Tuesday ,02 June

Arab Today, arab today Brazil gives more rights to domestic workers

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff
Brasília - AFP

President Dilma Rousseff on Tuesday approved legal changes giving more workplace rights to Brazil's estimated 6.5 million-strong army of maids and other domestic helpers.

An amendment last year to the original 2013 legislation had provided, among other things, for fines of $300 for employers found guilty of breaking the country's employment code.

It is estimated that employers here still only declare a third of their domestic workers.

The 2013 law was seen as a major step forward in boosting labor equality in a country where there is a huge gulf between rich and poor.

That law established basic entitlements such as a minimum wage, a break during the day and social security coverage, plus a working week limited to 44 hours and a maximum eight-hour day.

The new amendments approved by Rousseff -- and already passed by congress -- mean domestic workers will now be entitled to extra payments for night work, severance pay if fired without just cause, contributions to nursery care and insurance against workplace accidents.

The International Labor Organization estimates Brazil, population 202 million, has more domestic workers than any other country.

The government puts the figure at 6.5 million -- 6.1 million of them women -- including maids and nannies, cooks, chauffeurs and caretakers for the elderly. Some NGOs put the total even higher, at some 7.7 million.

Brazil was the last country in the Western Hemisphere to abolish slavery, in 1888.

And it only extended typical workplace rights to domestic workers with the 2013 legislation.

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