Exploring the Socio-legal Challenges Faced by Foreign Domestic Workers in Cyprus – Project findings and policy recommendations to be announced
The findings of a new research project by Dr. Nasia Hadjigeorgiou, ICLAIM Resident Expert, and Dr. Natalie Alkiviadou, ICLAIM Research Fellow have just been published.
The research project aimed to identify the challenges faced by foreign domestic workers (FDWs) in Cyprus, by engaging with the FDWs themselves through the completion of a questionnaire, 20 in-depth interviews and two focus groups with 10 participants each. The questionnaire was completed by a total of 150 FDWs: 46 Filipino, 35 Sri Lankan, 31 Nepalese, 25 Indian and 13 Vietnamese workers, which are proportionate to the five main nationalities of FDWs in Cyprus.
The results of this research are striking. In terms of their working conditions, 32% of FDWs report that they do not always get paid for work they did, or get paid less, and the same percentage claims that they are not always paid on time. 30% of respondents either did not sign a contract with their employer, or they do not remember whether they did and almost 60% either did not understand what the contract said or do not remember whether they understood. Perhaps most worrying is the fact that 34% say they do not get paid extra if they work beyond the hours that the contract provides and an additional staggering 58% does not know how many hours they are contractually expected to work. Responses relating to living conditions are equally bleak, but one stands out: three out of four FDWs would not go to the police, if they had been physically harmed by someone.
The research project utilised these results to draw conclusions for policy recommendations and make practical improvements to the lives of FDWs. The recommendations will be published in a report of the Ombudsman of the Republic of Cyprus and two reports by PRIO Cyprus Centre, while the project results will be disseminated to the Cypriot public more broadly.
On the website of the London School of Economics Hellenic Observatory, which funds the project.
The following article by Dr Nasia Hadjigeorgiou, ‘The Invisible Domestic Worker’ (The Justice Project, 7 October 2020)
Leaflets containing information on the rights of FDWs in Cyprus, in English, Nepalese, Pilipino, Punjabi, Sinhala, Vietnamese are accessible here.