Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Managing health issues with low wages – A study of female domestic workers

Bhattacharjee, Sanghita and Goswami, Bhaskar (2019): Managing health issues with low wages – A study of female domestic workers.

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Domestic workers are the most vulnerable group of informal workers who work to supplement their household income. They work for survival, hypothesis being that, women work to make up the difference between subsistence requirements and the total earnings of the family. They lack education or skill, work for long hours and perform specific tasks in several households. They have no leave rules or security benefits as they are excluded from the ambit of labour legislation. They are susceptible to serious health problems that often go unattended. Health issues results in a toll on their consumption expenditure and they are in a constant fear of losing job. The present study is based on a primary survey of 300 domestic workers conducted in the district of South 24Parganas, West Bengal, India for a period of six months from January 16 to June 16. The choice of the district was prompted by the inter-linkage between the growth and expansion of the city of Kolkata in her southern part, existence of a large number of Bangladeshi migrants in South 24 Parganas (Kumar, 2010), evidences of large scale commuting of unorganized workers (Roy, 2003) and the growing informal market where the major source of manual labour comes from the fringes of the district. The study was conducted to understand the socio-demographic characteristics of the workers household, their economic status and method of coping with health issues subject to limited income of the family.

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