Home-based Workers

Who are Home Based Workers?

• Own-account workers, and contributing family workers helping the own-account workers, involved in the production of goods and services for the market, in their homes or in nearby areas; and

• Workers carrying out work in their homes or nearby areas for remuneration, resulting in a product or service as specified by the employer(s), irrespective of who provides the equipment, materials or other inputs used; and those contributing family workers helping such workers

‘Home’, referred to above, is defined as (i) living place and/or (ii) structure attached to living place and/or (iii) open area / detached structure adjacent to the living place.

Issues of Home Based Workers

The key problems faced by Home based workers are characteristically as follows:

1) Invisibility: Invisible to policymakers and to the general public, as well as to the final consumers of goods and services they provide.

2) Lack of voice

3) Lack Collective bargaining skills

4) Low and/or irregular incomes.

5) Lack of social security not being covered under most of the social protection schemes.

6) Low productivity and poor technology

7) Lack of capital to make improvements   in tools, technologies, raw materials, storage areas, and other livelihood-related necessities.

8) Lack of sufficient resources for health, safety, security and other needs that allow Home based workers to pursue their economic activities.

9) Inadequate housing and habitat (environmental) conditions: – work from home in poor, cramped spaces with bad lighting and ventilation.

10) Many Home based workers are overworked and are exposed to dangerous chemicals and unhealthy and even toxic substances. Family members, including children, are also exposed to these occupational hazards, thus they lack occupational health and safety

11) Home based workers – especially women workers — have little access to education and skills, including the information and skills needed to sell their own products in the market.

All these problems help create conditions that allow the exploitation of Home based workers by middlemen and contractors. It is important to reverse these contributing factors to enable Home based workers to avoid exploitation, and become empowered and take charge of their own futures.