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Decent Work for Domestic Workers in Argentina

Institutional Innovations within the Same Framework

In: Journal of Labor and Society
Author:
Lorena PobleteCONICET-IDAES/UNSAM, National Council for Scientific and Technical Research, Universidad Nacional de San Martín, Buenos Aires, Argentina, lorena.poblete@conicet.gov.ar

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Abstract

Informality characterized domestic work in Argentina. Only 24% of domestic workers are formal workers. Therefore, informality became the target for transforming domestic work into “decent work,” following the International Labor Organization’s agenda. Looking at three different state institutions participating in this transformation—the Argentine Congress, National Tax Agency and Domestic Work Tribunal, this article seeks to understand how the notion of informality and the conceptualization of this particular labor relationship condition institutional responses. Thus, the article shows that in order to expand domestic workers’ rights, the three institutions focus on one particular working-time arrangement: full-time work. As a result, domestic workers working a few hours per week for several employers do not access the same protections, and are only marginally included within the scope of the law. For them, decent work seems to be unattainable.

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