The Language of Employment Contract: Paid Domestic Work Practices and Relations

  • Neetha N.


Paid domestic work and its specificities have raised many challenges in the understanding of the world of work, be it the specificity of employment relations and conditions, labour regulations and organizations of workers. The employer-employee relationship that characterizes most domestic work relationships is one of wage labour and symbolic contract, with various levels of personal relationships existing side by side. However, the language of employment contract dominates the current policy discussions on regulating working conditions and employment relations of domestic workers. The chapter through analysing the existing employment conditions and practices of workers who are part of a workers’ collective explores the possibility and implications of formal contracts for domestic workers. The chapter argues that though formal contracts have been the focus of the collective, in the current context many workers are hesitant in moving away from personal relations with employers to that of formal relations. Even when workers are members of collectives which promote formal contracts, labour rights and worker identity remain as challenges, owing to their social and economic specificities.


Domestic work Cooperatives NGO Trade union Recruitment practices Employment contracts 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Neetha N.
    • 1
  1. 1.Professor and Deputy Director, Centre for Women’s Development StudiesNew DelhiIndia

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