There is a woman named Sheela. She works from house to house. Somewhere she cooks, and somewhere she sweeps and wipes. They also get some income in return for their work. The value of their labor is not fixed. They get paid more for the same work and sometimes less.
This is the story of the millions of women and men like Sheela who contribute to the care economy. Their work neither gets the recognition it deserves from the society nor does it get proper remuneration.
There are two types of activities under the care economy. The first activity is the direct activity type under which direct care services are provided. Such as the care of a small child, the care of a disabled person or the care of the elderly. Now these services can be both paid and unpaid.
The second activity of care services is indirect activities. It includes those services which are ancillary to the services of care. Such as cooking, sweeping etc.
There are many problems with personnel engaged in care services. The biggest problem is that they are informal. The men and women working in this sector neither get a fixed salary of any kind, nor do they get any kind of pension. They also do not get health care insurance. Neither do they get a good house to live in, nor do they get any kind of allowance for the education of their children.
As a worker engaged in the service of a caregiver, in the name of social security, only silence comes to the share of these workers.
Whatever maternity leave the government has fixed, they also do not come under their part because their organizational structure is under informal type of economy. Even if these women are exploited, they still have to struggle hard to reach the justice system. One, they lack awareness and secondly they do not even have the resources.
The Act for Protection against Sexual Harassment at Workplace and the Minimum Allowance Act are also not implemented in the same way as they are followed for people falling within the formal structure of the economy.
Now if we want to find solutions to the problems of the workers working in the care service, then first of all government investment should be made in this sector. With such efforts of the government, on the one hand, a lot of jobs will be created in this sector, on the other hand, there will be a vast improvement in areas like health and education. Apart from this, quality and affordable care services will also be available to the public which will give a healthy dimension to the country’s ecosystem.
The International Labor Organization had also brought out a report in this regard, in which they have suggested that the government should increase investment in this sector and should fix the working hours of the workers working in this sector, give them fair and fixed wages. Apart from this, he has also suggested 5R(R) in this relation.
It is like this – first of all they should be recognized. Their problems should be reduced. Unpaid care services must be redistributed. The reward for these services will have to be further encouraged. They should increase social participation to raise the voice of their rights with greater heights.