PEP researchers in Uruguay spark discussion on domestic workers’ conditions at national conference

November 14, 2018 | Montevideo, Uruguay

A team of local PEP researchers sparked discussion on minimum wages and formality in the domestic work sector when the Minister of Labor attended their national policy conference.

November 14, 2018 – A team of local PEP researchers held a national policy conference in Montevideo, Uruguay, to discuss their findings on the impact of minimum wage policies for domestic workers.

The event attracted more than 70 stakeholders, including representatives of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MTSS), Ministry of Social Development, BPS (the social security institute) and the SUTD (union for domestic workers) to discuss lessons learned and future policies for domestic workers in South America. The Minister of Labor and Social Security opened the event, highlighting Uruguay’s advances in supporting the domestic work sector. 

During the conference, the PEP research team shared and discussed the findings from their study on Informal employment and labour market policies: The case of domestic workers in Uruguay, selected under the PAGE II initiative in 2017. 

The researchers analyzed cross-sectional data from the 2006-2016 National Household Surveys (National Institute of Statistics) to investigate the impact that the introduction of minimum wages had for domestic workers. The team’s analysis showed that almost 20% of domestic workers increased their wages but the researchers also observed migration of formal workers to the informal sector. Based on their findings, the team highlighted the need for broad labour policies to improve working conditions for domestic workers, 99% of whom are women. Find out more about the research methods, findings, and policy recommendations in PEP Policy Brief 183.

Main outcomes 

Representatives of the SUTD and the BPS responded to the team’s findings – particularly that informality is higher among domestic workers in the capital city – by proposing to improve and increase domestic work supervision. 

Additionally, the Minister of Labor and Social Security praised the work of the SUTD and the League of Housewives saying: “it is essential to strengthen social organizations to be able to keep advancing.” 

The presence of the Minister helped attract significant media coverage of the event, both for television and online reports. The MTSS and the Office of the Republic also published news items about the event (in Spanish).

The PEP research team organized the event in collaboration with the Center of Interdisciplinary Studies for Development in Uruguay (CIEDUR), United Nations Development Programme in Uruguay (UNDP) and the Tripartite Commission for Equal Opportunity and Treatment in Employment (CTIOTE). It was hosted at the Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MTSS).

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