PM says household workers vital to nation building

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller says Government is taking the necessary steps to officially ratify Convention 189 of the International Labour Organization (ILO), a convention that seeks to protect the welfare of domestic workers.
"This important Convention signals a major step towards justice and equity for the estimated 50 to 100 million household workers globally," the prime minister said.
Simpson Miller made the remarks during her keynote address at the Grace Kennedy / Heather Little-White Household Worker of the Year Awards Ceremony at the Jamaica Pegasus on May 29.
She insisted that household workers are among Jamaica’s finest and most important workers. She said they are vital to the process of nation building, as they provide the necessary care and support in households thereby allowing their employers to carry out their various activities.
"The role of the thousands of household workers in Jamaica has become increasingly important as more women pursue their careers outside of the home. It is this group of workers who keep most families going," Simpson Miller said.
She added that "the demand for household services is growing due to demographic, social and employment trends".
Meanwhile, addressing the treatment and compensation of household workers, the Simpson Miller noted that minimum wage is only a reference point for payment and that employers who can pay more should do so.
"I want to remind everyone, that the minimum wage is what it says – minimum. It is the lowest point below which it is illegal to pay anyone. It means that persons who can afford to pay more should pay more for the important service that household workers provide," she said.
The prime minister also encouraged household workers to work with the Jamaica Household Workers Association to protect their interests, particularly as it relates to poor working conditions, extended working hours and low wages.

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