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Memorial valuing the work of Maria Home, servant in Warwick Castle (1834)
A Han Dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD) Chinese ceramic figurine of a lady servant in a standard formal pose with hands covered by long sleeve cuffs in the traditional fashions

A domestic worker is a person who works within the employer's household. Domestic workers perform a variety of household services for an individual or a family, from providing care for children and elderly dependents to housekeeping, including cleaning and household maintenance. Other responsibilities may include cooking, laundry and ironing, shopping for food and undertaking other household errands. Such work has always needed to be done but before the Industrial Revolution and the advent of labour saving devices, it was physically much harder.

Some domestic workers live within their employer's household. In some cases, the contribution and skill of servants whose work encompassed complex management tasks in large households have been highly valued. However, for the most part, domestic work, while necessary, is demanding and undervalued. Although legislation protecting domestic workers is in place in many countries, it is often not extensively enforced. In many jurisdictions, domestic work is poorly regulated and domestic workers are subject to serious abuses, including slavery.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref>

Servant is an older English word for "domestic worker", though not all servants worked inside the home. Domestic service, or the employment of people for wages in their employer's residence, was sometimes simply called "service" and has often been part of a hierarchical system. In Britain a highly developed system of domestic service peaked towards the close of the Victorian era, perhaps reaching its most complicated and rigidly structured state during the Edwardian period (a period known in the US as the Gilded Age and in France as the Belle Époque), which reflected the limited social mobility before World War I.


Domestic worker sections
Intro  Legal protections  Accommodation  Current situation  Child domestic workers  Domestic work and international migration  Advocacy of the debt owed to migrant domestic workers as a group  Social effects of domestic work  Trends in domestic work   Varieties of domestic work  Notable domestic workers  Domestic workers in art  See also  References  Further reading  External links  

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