This article examines the conceptual, measurement, and regulatory challenges of promoting decent work for domestic workers. After a brief introduction to the reality of domestic work, summarizing recent estimates of its significance and characteristics, the article presents some conceptual challenges to promoting decent work for domestic workers, including the fact that “domestic work” does not fit neatly within any of the causal theories of informality. It then discusses the challenge of collecting, compiling, and comparing statistical data on domestic workers and examines the barriers to regulating domestic workers, including the paradox that many economists seek to regulate informal enterprises but deregulate labour markets. The article concludes with some promising examples of what is currently being done to increase the representative voice (through organizing), official visibility (through improved statistics), and legal validity of domestic workers (through laws and legal cases).


Chen, Martha. "Recognizing Domestic Workers, Regulating Domestic Work: Conceptual, Measurement, and Regulatory Challenges." Canadian Journal of Women and the Law/Revue Femmes et Droit 23.1 (April 2011): 167-184.