International Domestic Workers' Day 2019: A Celebration at HOME

On Sunday, June 30th, we celebrated a special International Domestic Workers' Day at HOME.

June 16th is International Domestic Workers’ Day. On this date in 2011, The International Labour Organisation (ILO) adopted the Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers. This was the first treaty to set out domestic worker rights. It requires countries to guarantee domestic workers equal rights as other workers: weekly rest periods, working hour restrictions, overtime compensation, annual leave and protection against violence. At HOME, International Domestic Workers’ Day gives us a chance to celebrate domestic labour. It also reminds us of the progress to be made and the struggles of Singapore's domestic workers.

Our June 30th celebration featured games, dancing and even a durian eating competition! We recognised the efforts of our wonderful workers and volunteers this year. All in all, the day gave everyone a dose of joy and community.

Gilda, domestic worker and organiser of this year’s Open House, explains why the day is so special:

“This is a day where we celebrate freedom. Sunday is the off day for workers, so they can celebrate and do what they like for the day. They come together to dance and have fun.

This day is also about equality. There are all nationalities here: Philippines, Myanmar, Indonesia, India… The celebration gives us fun and enjoyment as equals."

Domestic worker Judy shared the best parts of her day: “I think my favourite is eating durian! Also dancing, and I would say hanging out with friends.”

In celebrating International Domestic Workers’ Day, HOME calls for the Singapore government to ratify the ILO Convention on domestic workers and strengthen workers' legal protections. Singapore’s domestic workers perform essential work; too often they face poor living standards, excessive working hours and insufficient rest days. We uphold our values of justice, equality and respect and encourage Singaporeans to create an inclusive society for migrant domestic workers.

We continue celebrating domestic worker rights on June 16th and every day. Thanks to the HOME team and workers who made our celebration happen - looking forward to next year's!

Stephanie Chok