The thesis explores the contemporary legal treatment of domestic workers from a labour law perspective, shedding light on the role that labour law can play in either shaping or combatting the vulnerability of domestic workers. Drawing on insights from interdisciplinary literature, the thesis aims to shine a spotlight on an invisible and hitherto rather underexplored topic within labour law scholarship. After illustrating the significance of domestic workers in the contemporary globalised economy, the thesis focuses on the characteristics contributing to sustaining and entrenching the speciality of domestic work in contemporary labour law scholarship, i.e., its place in the private household and its association with traditionally gendered (and racialised) activities, which have been used to justify the exclusion of domestic workers from many labour law provisions. Against this background, the thesis contends that labour law can, on the contrary, play a role in proactively mitigating the vulnerability of domestic workers, as demonstrated by the historic adoption of the ILO Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No. 189), which reclaimed domestic work as ‘Work Like Any Other, Work Like No Other’. Likewise, the thesis argues that there has been a small yet significant shift in the EU policy approach towards domestic workers, which can represent a promising avenue to challenge exclusions within national labour law regimes. Finally, the thesis reflects on the implications of the debate on domestic work for the broader discussion of the re-conceptualisation of the boundaries of labour law in a post-industrial and post-pandemic world.

The House as a Workplace: Challenging the Speciality of Domestic Work in Labour Law

Elisa Chieregato
2021

Abstract

The thesis explores the contemporary legal treatment of domestic workers from a labour law perspective, shedding light on the role that labour law can play in either shaping or combatting the vulnerability of domestic workers. Drawing on insights from interdisciplinary literature, the thesis aims to shine a spotlight on an invisible and hitherto rather underexplored topic within labour law scholarship. After illustrating the significance of domestic workers in the contemporary globalised economy, the thesis focuses on the characteristics contributing to sustaining and entrenching the speciality of domestic work in contemporary labour law scholarship, i.e., its place in the private household and its association with traditionally gendered (and racialised) activities, which have been used to justify the exclusion of domestic workers from many labour law provisions. Against this background, the thesis contends that labour law can, on the contrary, play a role in proactively mitigating the vulnerability of domestic workers, as demonstrated by the historic adoption of the ILO Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No. 189), which reclaimed domestic work as ‘Work Like Any Other, Work Like No Other’. Likewise, the thesis argues that there has been a small yet significant shift in the EU policy approach towards domestic workers, which can represent a promising avenue to challenge exclusions within national labour law regimes. Finally, the thesis reflects on the implications of the debate on domestic work for the broader discussion of the re-conceptualisation of the boundaries of labour law in a post-industrial and post-pandemic world.
EU labour law
gender and work
domestic worker
care work
atypical work
feminist legal method
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1053258
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