Oxfam and the Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA) hosted the 13th International Domestic Workers’ Day under the theme "Value Caregivers and Domestic Workers", in Phnom Penh on June 16. The event aimed to recognise the rights of domestic workers, discuss their challenges and share insights on social protection policies.

With around 270 participants, including street vendors, household employers, transport workers, government representatives and development partners (DPs), the forum served as a platform for addressing key issues facing domestic workers, according to a June 16 joint press release.

“We are committed to collaborating with the Royal Government of Cambodia and relevant stakeholders [to] address inequality among workers and vulnerable population groups. Domestic workers are an important part of the labour force, contributing to the enhancement of the family economy, social development and the national economy,” she added.

IDEA president Pov Von highlighted the organisation's efforts since 2005 to improve labour conditions for domestic workers.

“Currently, IDEA is coordinating a Cambodian Domestic Workers Network which consists of 20 domestic workers groups, to initiate appropriate dialogues with relevant government agencies and households’ employers for greater recognition of their rights,” he stated.

One of the attendees, Sreymom Yong, a domestic worker in Phnom Penh, shared her advocacy for the National Social Security Fund (NSSF).

“The NSSF is more beneficial than private insurance. I can access healthcare benefits, workplace injury insurance and pension benefits,” she explained. “I want to see all domestic workers get the same support as me.”

According to a 2018 International Labor Organization (ILO) study, there are approximately 240,000 domestic workers in Cambodia. Their contributions are vital to household incomes and poverty eradication efforts. However, these workers often face income insecurity, health risks and discrimination.

Oxfam and IDEA called on the government to ratify ILO Convention 189, which ensures decent work for domestic workers, aligning with the Kingdom’s goals of becoming an upper-middle-income country by 2030 and high-income by 2050.

According to the press release, the event concluded with calls for continued support and protection for domestic workers, emphasising their critical role in the economy and society.