Indian Institute of Technology,
Theme 14: Protecting the Vulnerable: Providing Social
Welfare to Informal Sector Workers
‘Sahayam’ – A Domestic Help Welfare Committee
All economic activity that is unlicensed or
unregistered by the government, and is
hence not taxable, is part of the informal
People employed in households, such as
‘maids’, drivers, security guards,
47.5 lakh domestic workers in India.
PROBLEMS OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND CAUSES
Poor working conditions
No/low job security
Cause: Lack of employment rights
No standardization of wages
Lack of worker organization and bargaining power
Sparse grievance redressal systems
Cause: Lack of regulation and organization
No health/accident insurance
Low/no savings for future
Cause: Low income
Informal sector Formal sector
Percentage of total employment
Contribution to NDP
without social security
with social security
Domestic Help Welfare Committee (Sahayam)
An Overview of ‘Sahayam’
All wards of a city to have DHWCs – Domestic Help Welfare
Committees- as part of the resident’s welfare associations.
Government legislation to improve workers’ social welfare
(as proposed in the next slide) will be actively implemented
through and ensured by these DHWCs.
Domestic workers (Registration social security and welfare )
Act 2008. Sahayam attempts at allowing for implementation
of certain aspects of the Act.
To achieve social welfare of domestic workers by ensuring them
adequate rights and regulation, and financial stability through their
collective cooperation and action through DHWCs, and adequate
WAGES AND OTHER BENEFITS
1. Standardised pay and perk scales (Rs. 40/hr)
legalized, and implementation ensured by redressal
systems of DHWCs.
2. Legal provisions for a Government Providend Fund
and Pension Benefits. Financial management by a
DHWC department set up by government.
3. Compulsory legalization of formal employment
contracts which contain pay details, and rights of
employer and employee. Checking and cross-
signature by DHWC officer.
1. First point of contact for domestic workers with
regard to physical abuse, including sexual assault
2. First point of contact for employers (issues related
to thievery or other issues)
3. Redressal committee consisting Head of the
residents’ welfare association (RWA), head of
domestic welfare committee, any others as seen fit
by the Head of RWA and the head of DWC.
REGISTRATION AND BANKING SUPPORT
1. All members of DHWCs are to be registered with
the DHWCs using Adhaar Card (UID).
2. DHCWs must open bank accounts for all members
registered with the body. Ease of transaction with
regard to salaries, obtaining bank loans and direct
transfer of NPS Lite.
3.Access to Group Insurance Scheme in lieu of
Employees ‘ Deposit Linked Insurance Scheme – LIC
HEALTH AND ACCIDENT INSURANCE
1. Wages must include a portion which will become
part of health insurance (5% of wages). The
employer must pay Rs. 100 per 3 months as PF . To
be given to individual upon need on health grounds.
2. Provision of maternity benefits ( 1 month
vacation; shorter working hours)
Roles of Sahayam
in ensuring social
Working of Sahayam
A DHWC is an a formal association of ‘maids’, drivers, gardeners, security
guards and other domestic workers employed by households in a specific
ward. All DHWC members carry a special ‘membership’ card.
President of DHWC is a member elected on a quarterly basis by members of
DHWC. A representative for each of the groups within the DHWC
(drivers, maids etc.) will be elected on a quarterly basis. Representatives will
be provided pay for duties.
This DHWC will be a part of the ward’s residential welfare association.
Elected Presidents of DHWCs will meet up in AGMs to decide on collective
strategies for the improvement of social welfare of domestic workers, along
with senior DHWC officers in each city.
Monthly meetings of the DHWC will be held where they will discuss and
review various proposals and grievances, then share them with the local
elected representative and/or residential welfare association secretary.
Regional DHWC Councillor (RDC) will arrange for a venue for the meetings
Legislation mandating set
up of DHWCs
DHWC government department set up.
Department issues cards for
workers, designating them specific
DHWCs, based on where they work.
RDC arranges for a permanent
venue for meetings.
First meeting takes place where
election for President and
Workers are introduced to
and given contracts, to be
checked and signed by
their employers; and
informed of other roles of
Bank accounts opened
within 4 months of first
Insurance schemes and PF
arranged for within 6 months
of first meeting.
Financial and Human ResourcesFunding
Rs.100 collected per family per
month for PF and insurance
NPS Lite – From government
State Budgetary Allocation for
social welfare used to set up
DHWC offices and maintenance
Govt Funds: awareness
programs and issuance of
DHWC membership cards and
Regional DHWC Councilors (1
per thirty DHWCs)
Presidents of DHWCs
(Representatives report to
Financial and Human Resources
Assuming average of 45 members per DHWC, therefore max. possible number
of DHWCs in India = 2 million covering large proportion of population
One office for thirty DHWCs: Rs. 30 lakh initial cost& 20 lakh running costs (per
month), i.e. cost per DHWC per month would be Rs. 4500 per month
Issuing cards and establishing contracts to be done at a subsidised rate by the
State DWC head.
Impact & Merits Of The Solution
Sahayam addresses the concerns of domestic informal workers at the root level
– being a decentralized model - using a democratic process. Problems of
workers can be identified and solved.
Standardised wages for social workers reduces financial difficulties caused by
low pay, and conditions for dismissal make work regular, enabling steady flow if
income. The model makes it easier to implement standardisation of wages.
Sahayam protects the interest of employers as well. They can address their
difficulties to DHWCs in order to arrive at amicable solutions.
Health and Accident Insurance – immense financial support to domestic
workers in times of need.
Effective redressal system to protect and support domestic help – reducing
violence and exploitation.
Network of support for the domestic help through committees – emotional
gains for workers.
Legislation by state (as proposed) is supervised and ensured by DHWCs.
Contract systems to protect interests of both parties, and stop worker
PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH GIVEN
SOLUTIONS AND MITIGATING FACTORS
PROBLEMS MITIGATING FACTORS
Employees could be
uneducated/illiterate/unaware of legal
rights, hindering understanding of the
employment contract, (leaving scope for
exploitation of employer), insurance
schemes, bank accounts etc.
Legal representatives for both sides.
Awareness campaigns for the domestic workers, and
basic training by DHWCs.
Support systems within DHWCs to help such
workers: for example one member helping another,
or the representatives helping workers.
Resistance to change/High labour market
supply, low demand leading to workers
willing to work for lower wages/without
Awareness programs through mass media
Legalization and sanctions in general interest.
Negligence of workers/officials. Domestic Help Welfare Officer to review progress of
committee twice in one year.
Delay in/No opening of bank accounts, and
set up of insurance schemes under
supervision of DHWO
Members can send complaint to RWC, and/or seek
legal representatives for out of court settelment
Financial irregularities/corruption Relevant officials can be taken to court by members
with help of legal representatives