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29.09.2005 General News

LAWA - Ghana builds consensus on draft regulation for domestic workers

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Accra, Sept. 29, GNA - Mrs Stella Minkah-Premo, Member of Leadership and Advocacy for Women in Africa (LAWA) - Ghana Alumnae Incorporated, on Thursday said there was the need to promote the rights of domestic helps, who were often victims of abuse.

Mrs Minkah-Premo, who was speaking at a stakeholders meeting on LAWA's Project on the Rights of Domestic Helps in Ghana, said there was also the need to enact laws regulating their working conditions and raise problems of human rights as well as labour laws.

LAWA is formed by the Ghanaian Alumnae of Female Lawyers, who participated in a Masters of Law (LL.M) Degree Programme at the Georgetown University, under the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) exchange programme from 1992 to 1998. The programme selects and trains lawyers from some African countries including Ghana, Uganda and South Africa in Legal study and policy issues affecting the right of women.

The meeting was, therefore, to build consensus on LAWA-Ghana's Draft Regulations on Domestic Workers and advocate for it adoption by policy makers, collate comments from stakeholders and review draft regulations.

She said LAWA would create and increase awareness in four regions including Central and Ashanti and at the national level on the right of domestic workers, particularly females.

This she said would help to sensitise domestic workers on their rights and enable them advocate formal agreement and contracts with respect to their employers.

Giving an overview on the draft regulations, Mrs Barbara Ayensu, a member of LAWA, said the draft regulation was necessitated by an extensive research conducted by Law Students of Georgetown University and LAWA Ghana on domestic workers.

The Draft touches on minimum wages, social security, maximum hours and rest periods, private employment agencies, servitude, trafficking, sexual harassment among other things.

The Draft, she said recommended, the passage of the Labour Law with amendment to ensure that domestic workers were fully covered, especially with regard to maximum hours of work and rest periods, implementation of child right's regulation 2002, which would allow for fuller enforcement of the Children's Act.

It also calls for the increase in the allocation of resources to District Departments of Social Welfare and Labour Offices so that they could have ample transportation allowances and hire adequate staff to fulfil their duties under the Law and establish temporary homes for domestic workers escaping abuses.

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