Domestic worker

person who works within the scope of a residence
(Redirected from Servant)

A domestic worker, also called a servant, is a person who works for someone in a residence. Domestic workers are employed and paid. They are free to leave their employment if they wish. Many domestic workers are required by their employer to wear a uniform when in their employer's home.

Domestic workers in the United States in 1914
A servant minds her employer's child

In the Victorian era, Britain had many domestic workers. The butler was the most important one. At meal times he was like a head waiter. Other male domestic workers were often called "valets". A valet (sometimes said with a silent "t") may have been a personal servant who looked after his master’s clothes and comforts, and possibly looked after money matters as well. Female domestic worker were usually maids who cleaned, cooks who prepared the meals and nannies who looked after the children. Gardeners did the gardening.

In the early 18th century, even some musicians were servants and had to wear livery (uniform). In 1717, when composer Johann Sebastian Bach said he wanted to leave his job, the duke he worked for put him in prison. In the 19th century, there were many domestic workers in Europe or the United States and elsewhere. In the early 20th century, new laws were made in Britain to protect domestic workers, and give them more rights.

After the middle 20th century, fewer people in rich countries became servants. Domestic workers from poorer countries either work for rich people in their own country, or go to richer countries to find work.

To ensure the right of decent work for all kind of domestic workers including migrant workers, International Labour Organization has made Convention No. 189 on domestic workers.

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