Migrant domestic workers in the European Union : the role of law in constructing vulnerability
Title: Migrant domestic workers in the European Union : the role of law in constructing vulnerability
Author: PAVLOU, Vera
Citation: Florence : European University Institute, 2016
Series/Number: EUI PhD theses; Department of Law
Due to the interplay of factors such as population ageing, women's entry into paid employment and the decline of the welfare state, EU Member State face increasing needs for domestic work services – primarily care but also cleaning and other housekeeping services. The majority of domestic workers in Europe today are migrants, both EU and third-country nationals. They tend to work under precarious conditions that make them vulnerable to day-to-day exploitation. Migrant domestic workers face low wages, long and unregulated working hours, workplace harassment, lack of protection if they become pregnant, and unlawful dismissals. Such vulnerabilities are to some extent attributed to intersections of race, class and gender-based prejudices. Yet law, in particular migration and labour law, has an important role in constructing and sustaining vulnerabilities. My aim in this thesis is twofold: to examine the role of law in structuring vulnerability and to identify legal sources that can challenge and reduce certain aspects of this vulnerability. In the first part of the thesis I identify the key dimensions of migration law that make domestic workers vulnerable to then build a typology of the different migration law regimes of EU Member States. To examine the role of labour law, I compare the labour law regulation of domestic work in four Member States: Spain, Sweden, Cyprus and the UK. The analysis sheds light to labour law's very different ways in structuring and, in certain instances, reducing vulnerability. In the second part of the thesis I examine the treatment of migrant domestic workers under EU law. I first give an overview of EU migration law sources to locate and evaluate norms relevant to domestic workers. Then I revisit a debate on the personal scope of EU employment law and challenge the flawed assumption that it does not apply to domestic work. I finally argue that EU employment law is a useful but largely misunderstood resource for domestic workers.
LC Subject Heading: Labor laws and legislation -- European Union countries; Household employees -- Legal status, laws, etc. -- European Union countries; Foreign workers -- Legal status, laws, etc. -- European Union countries; Migrant labor -- Legal status, laws, etc. -- European Union countries
Defence date: 10 June 2016; Examining Board: Professor Claire Kilpatrick (EUI Supervisor); Professor Bruno de Witte, EUI; Professor Judy Fudge, University of Kent; Professor Mark Bell, Trinity College Dublin.
Type of Access: embargoedAccess