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Costa Rica signs domestic worker rights convention

October 23, 2013

Domestic workers in Costa Rica won the right to minimum wage and collective bargaining Tuesday as President Laura Chinchilla and Labor Minister Olman Segura Bonilla signed the International Labor Organization’s Domestic Workers Convention.

“The ratification of this convention allows domestic workers to enjoy the same rights as other workers in the country,” Segura said. 

The new law grants domestic workers – including migrants – a minimum wage, collective bargaining, at least one continuous day off, clear terms of employment, and employer-paid access to the nation’s socialized health care system. Workers also will have access to the courts and other mediation mechanisms to present any complaints about working conditions they may have. 

“At both a national and international level, there has been greater awareness of the economic and social worth of domestic work and the need to improve working and living conditions of these workers,” the labor minister said. 

Despite the ratification of the convention, the Labor Ministry remains short-staffed when it comes to enforcing the new law. Segura said a little more than 100 labor inspectors must cover Costa Rica’s 4.5 million inhabitants.

The labor minister said of 135,512 homes in Costa Rica, 13,112 men and 122,400 women are employed in housekeeping and other domestic work. 

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