MPs want domestic work recognised as formal labour

Tororo District Woman MP Sarah Opendi. PHOTO/DAVID LUBOWA

What you need to know:

  • Rights activists have urged government to provide critical services like water access to ease workload burdening women.  

Legislators have embarked on the process of recognising domestic work in the formal sector saying “there is a lot of unpaid work which needs a reward.”

On Tuesday, Tororo District Woman Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Opendi said “there has not been a national conversation on issue and how to address it.”

“We have embarked on the conversation so that government can find a solution and also recognise the importance care giving and domestic work,” she told journalists during the high level dialogue on unpaid care and domestic work in Kampala.

Opendi decried little or no pay for domestic workers amid heavy labour.

“As parliament, we had hope that we address this issue in the Employment Amendment Bill but it was not possible since it is still lying within parliament and the president’s office,” she said.

“As MPs, we want to task government to come up with a clear policy on this caregiving [domestic] work,” shew added.

On her part, the commissioner for gender and women affairs at the ministry of gender, Angela Nakafeero, said they aim to recognize the contribution of care givers to families, communities and the country at large.

“This takes different forms and for anything to be recognised we must have evidence so that we are  be able to measure what it means, contribution to the economy  and  factor that in the national development,” she explained.

She also revealed that the gender ministry has started revising the Uganda gender policy, noting that it’s at cabinet level with more consultations needed.

“One of the vital issues which was discussed was on who pays the care giver. That question is at a point of reflection,” she added.

Nakafeero insisted that everyone is responsible to pay his or her caregivers.

Uganda Women's Network (UWONET) executive director Ritah Aciro backed their push for recognition of domestic work as formal labour saying: “Because it’s not recognized means it has no economic value and the burden falls more on women…thus they are kept in that domestic fear that denies them opportunities to participate in public affairs.”

She added: “This campaign for recognition and redistribution of care work is to enable care givers   to be recognised depending on their workload.”

Rights activists urged government to provide critical services like water access to ease workload burdening women.