Speakers at a view-exchange meeting on Wednesday called for bringing domestic workers under the labour law umbrella to ensure their rights and benefits.
They also suggested updating the 'Domestic Workers Protection and Welfare Policy-2015' and taking necessary action plan to enforce it.
Besides, they called for ratification of ILO-189 for decent work for domestic workers.
Civil society members and domestic workers attended the meeting titled 'Rights and well-being of domestic workers in Bangladesh: Exploring the opportunities and challenges for policy implementation' organised by Oxfam at CIRDAP auditorium in the city.
According to the Labour Force Survey data (2016-17), about 1.69 million people of the country are domestic helps and 90 per cent of them are women, the speakers said at the meeting.
These workers remained out of the ambit of the labour law. As a result, there is no monitoring system officially to ensure their protection and working environment, they said.
Besides, the contribution of domestic helps to the national economy is not recognized, they added.
Quoting a survey conducted by the Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies (BILS), the speakers said at least 591 domestic workers were injured seriously or killed as result of torture by their employers in the last 10 years (from 2011 to 2020) in the country.
Of them, 298 were killed and 12 others committed suicide because of maltreatment by their employers.
A survey by Oxfam and Nari Maitree found that 83 domestic helps lost their jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic. They even could not manage any alternative jobs during the period.
Of them, 47 said they faced severe food crisis after losing jobs.
Oxfam in collaboration with six other organisations has been executing a project named 'Securing Rights of Women Domestic Workers in Bangladesh' since 2019.
At least 16,000 domestic helps will get training and awareness building counselling to improve their lives as a whole.
M Abdus Salam, secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, was the chief guest at the meeting while Rasheda K. Chowdhury, executive director of Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE), was present as special guest.