Draft law 5695 on regulation of domestic workers’ employment

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On April 10, the parliament of Ukraine adopted in the first reading draft law No.5695“On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts Regarding Regulation of Employment of Domestic Workers,” initiated by several MPs in 2021.

The draft introduces a new chapter ХІ-1 – Employment of domestic workers to the valid Labor Code. Under it:

  • A domestic worker is an individual who is engaged in domestic work within employment relations with the employer. Domestic work is work that is performed on the terms of an employment agreement in or for the household.
  • Domestic work performed occasionally or sporadically but not more than 40 hours per month is not considered domestic work.
  • The minimum age for domestic workers is 16 years.  
  • Under legislative clauses, domestic workers are covered by all labor rights and guarantees. Domestic workers are subject to general provisions on normal hours of work, overtime compensation, periods of daily and weekly rest, and paid annual leave in accordance with national laws considering the special characteristics of domestic work.
  • Every domestic worker has the right to a safe and healthy working environment.However, the draft law stipulates that domestic workers are independently responsible for ensuring safe and harmless working conditions, while  the employer is responsible for the safety and proper technical condition of the equipment and means of production transferred to the domestic worker for the performance of work. 
  • The employer signs a written employment agreement with a domestic workerand shall notify the State Tax Service about a domestic worker. Under general rules, in such a case, the employer should pay a unified social contribution (USB) and be a tax agent for employees. However, this draft law stipulates that persons who work under an employment contract with other individuals (in particular, domestic workers) will independently pay a unified social contribution. According to the authors of the draft law, such a rule would optimize and ensure the effectiveness of USB payments.

Labor Initiatives lawyers, in general, positively viewed the idea of domestic work regulation. Legislative regulation of domestic work is important as a lot of Ukrainians, in particular women, work in this sector unofficially without any social guarantees. However, LI lawyers have several comments regarding the wording of some clauses and their argumentation.

The biggest issue for LI is the incentive of an employer and domestic worker to conclude an employment agreement. The mechanism of individual payment of unified social contributions remains unclear, and it seems illogical to shift the burden of paying mandatory payments to the domestic worker.

Moreover, the draft law leaves aside the right of a domestic worker who resides in the household to determine the conditions of residence, whether to remain in the household or with household members during periods of daily and weekly rest or annual leave as specified in Article 9 of the ILO Domestic Workers Convention 189.  

The State Labor Service (Labor Inspectorate) is proposed to be a responsible body for monitoring and control over compliance with labor legislation regarding domestic workers, in particular through raise-awareness work in the household. However, the draft does not provide an effective mechanism for implementing these provisions.

The draft enshrines that if there is reasonable data on the use of the labor of domestic workers by the household, labor inspectors should be provided with the opportunity to conduct a confidential conversation with a domestic worker. But the implementation mechanism of such a conversation, including the right of access to a household’s premises and respect for privacy, has not been defined either.