Countries vote to protect domestic workers

June 16, 2011 - 4:58 AM

GENEVA (AP) — Countries have voted to to back a new convention that will recognize labor rights for millions of maids, nannies and cooks around the world

Governments, employers and unions meeting at the annual International Labor Conference voted Thursday to approve the Domestic Workers Convention by 396 to 16 with 63 abstentions.

Campaign groups says the vote means many of the estimated 100 million domestic workers worldwide stand to gain labor rights such as vacation, maternity leave and health insurance for the first time.

Governments must still ratify the convention before it comes into force in their country.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

GENEVA (AP) — Millions of domestic workers stand to gain labor rights for the first time as countries meet in Geneva to vote on a new convention that will protect maids, nannies and cooks around the world from exploitation.

Governments meeting at the annual International Labor Conference are voting Thursday on whether to accept that domestic workers deserve basic rights, such as regulated working hours, maternity leave and unemployment insurance.

Countries have taken decades to agree on the convention in part because of concern about the impact of granting labor rights to large numbers of people in the informal economy.

The International Labor Organization says 56 million workers could be covered by the convention, but campaign groups put that number at 100 million.