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  1. 1. Team: ‘Metamorphosis’ Madhura Balasubramaniam Kalyani Subbiah Priyadarshini Subramanian Sinduja Raja Vilasini Kailasam Indian Institute of Technology, Madras Theme 14: Protecting the Vulnerable: Providing Social Welfare to Informal Sector Workers ‘Sahayam’ – A Domestic Help Welfare Committee (DHWC) Model
  3. 3. DOMESTIC WORKERS All economic activity that is unlicensed or unregistered by the government, and is hence not taxable, is part of the informal sector. INFORMAL SECTOR People employed in households, such as ‘maids’, drivers, security guards, gardeners, etc. 47.5 lakh domestic workers in India. PROBLEMS OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND CAUSES Poor working conditions No/low job security Physical/mental exploitation Cause: Lack of employment rights No standardization of wages Lack of worker organization and bargaining power Child labour Sparse grievance redressal systems Cause: Lack of regulation and organization Low investment No health/accident insurance Low/no savings for future Cause: Low income Informal sector Formal sector Percentage of total employment Contribution to NDP 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% 94% 57% 6% 43% STATISTICAL DISPARITY Informal workers without social security Informal workers with social security 7%
  4. 4. SOLUTION SUGGESTED Domestic Help Welfare Committee (Sahayam)
  5. 5. An Overview of ‘Sahayam’ Basic framework 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. Existing systems for domestic workers Domestic workers (Registration social security and welfare ) Act 2008. Sahayam attempts at allowing for implementation of certain aspects of the Act. Mission 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 government intervention.
  6. 6. 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. REDRESSAL SYSTEM 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 with government in ensuring social welfare
  7. 7. 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
  8. 8. Implementation 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 representatives occurs. Workers are introduced to and given contracts, to be checked and signed by their employers; and informed of other roles of Sahayam Bank accounts opened within 4 months of first meeting. Insurance schemes and PF arranged for within 6 months of first meeting. :
  9. 9. Financial and Human ResourcesFunding Rs.100 collected per family per month for PF and insurance NPS Lite – From government funds 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 contracts. 1 2 3 4 StateDHWCHead Regional DHWC Councilors (1 per thirty DHWCs) Presidents of DHWCs (Representatives report to them) RWA Heads
  10. 10. 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.
  11. 11. 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 exploitation.
  12. 12. 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 contract. 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
  13. 13. References  informal-sector-workers.pdf  UnorganisedWoekersSocialSecurityAct2008.pdf  ised_Workers_Social_Security_Act.pdf  tamilnadu-signalling-hope  resources/social-security-informal-workers-chennai    