Thanks to the Philippines, a landmark treaty on the protection of the world's over 100 million domestic workers will take effect within 12 months, the International Labor Organization (ILO) said.
The Philippines on Wednesday became the second country to ratify June 2011 ILO Convention 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers, following Uruguay which ratified it last June 14.
This allows the ILO, which requires at least two countries to ratify a treaty, to enforce what it called the "first global standard for domestic workers."
"Today’s ratification by the Philippines sends a powerful signal to the millions of domestic workers who will be protected when the Convention comes into force," ILO Director-General Juan Somavia said in a statement.
"I hope it will also send a signal to other member States and that we will soon see more and more countries committing to protect the rights of domestic workers," he added.
This, as the ILO noted that domestic workers is a sector which "continues to be poorly regulated and remains largely part of the informal economy."
Based on government data from 117 countries, the ILO estimated 53 million domestic workers globally.
"But since this kind of work is often hidden and unregistered, experts believe that the total number could be as high as 100 million," the ILO said.
The United Nations labor agency said this means domestic workers comprise 3.6 percent of wage employment globally and up to 12 percent in developing countries.
"Around 83 per cent of these workers are women or girls, and many are migrant workers," the ILO said.
It added that the new convention will be applicable to all domestic workers and provides special measures to protect those who may be exposed to additional risks due to age, nationality of live-in status.
Convention 189 mandates that the same basic labor rights enjoyed by other workers be extended to workers who care for families and households, the ILO said.
Among these rights are reasonable working hours; weekly rest of at least 24 counsecutive hours; and respect for fundamental principles and rights at work, including freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining, it noted.
Twelve people were killed in the Philippines on Saturday as troops clashed with a militant group blamed for the country's deadliest terror attacks, the military said.