JIS News

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  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller says Government is taking the necessary steps to officially ratify Convention 189 of the International Labour Organization (ILO), a convention that seeks to protect the welfare of domestic workers.
  • The Prime Minister declared that Jamaica supports the Convention which is in keeping with the ILO’s Decent Work Agenda.
  • Mrs. Simpson Miller made the remarks during her keynote address at the Grace Kennedy / Heather Little-White Household Worker of the Year Awards Ceremony at the Jamaica Pegasus on May 29.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller says Government is taking the necessary steps to officially ratify Convention 189 of the International Labour Organization (ILO), a convention that seeks to protect the welfare of domestic workers.  The Prime Minister declared that Jamaica supports the Convention which is in keeping with the ILO’s Decent Work Agenda. “This important Convention signals a major step towards justice and equity for the estimated 50 to 100 million household workers globally,” the Prime Minister said.

Mrs. Simpson Miller made the remarks during her keynote address at the Grace Kennedy / Heather Little-White Household Worker of the Year Awards Ceremony at the Jamaica Pegasus on May 29. The Prime Minister emphasized that household workers are among Jamaica’s finest and most important workers. She said they are vital to the process of nation building, as they provide the necessary care and support in households thereby allowing their employers to carry out their various activities.

Mrs. Simpson Miller said that “the role of the thousands of household workers in Jamaica has become increasingly important as more women pursue their careers outside of the home. It is this group of workers who keep most families going.” She added that “the demand for household services is growing due to demographic, social and employment trends.”

Meanwhile, addressing the treatment and compensation of household workers, the Prime Minister noted that minimum wage is only a reference point for payment and that employers who can pay more should do so. “I want to remind everyone, that the minimum wage is what it says – minimum. It is the lowest point below which it is illegal to pay anyone. It means that persons who can afford to pay more should pay more for the important service that household workers provide,” the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister encouraged household workers to work with the Jamaica Household Workers Association to protect their interests, particularly as it relates to poor working conditions, extended working hours and low wages.

Since 1991, the Jamaica Household Workers Association has been representing the interests of household workers. This Association evolved out of a series of training and workshops for approximately 175 household workers sponsored by the Bureau of Women’s Affairs in 1990. The association has since grown into a strong and focused organization representing approximately 4,000 workers.

The Prime Minister congratulated Grace Kennedy for its vision and foresight in staging the annual Household Worker of the Year Awards Ceremony, which is being held for the second consecutive year. “Although they are part of the backbone of our country, they are seldom, if ever, singled out for special recognition or assistance. Thank you Grace Kennedy,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said. The 2015 recipient of the Award is Rosetta Steer, who came out on top of a field of 120 nominees from across Jamaica. Second place went to Jasmin Miller, while Charmaine Smith rounded out the top three.