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Modern-day slavery? The work-life conflict of domestic workers in Nigeria

Toyin Ajibade Adisa (Royal Docks School of Business and Law, University of East London, London, UK)
Olatunji David Adekoya (Royal Docks School of Business and Law, University of East London, London, UK)
Olajumoke Okoya (Royal Docks School of Business and Law, University of East London, London, UK)

Gender in Management

ISSN: 1754-2413

Article publication date: 6 May 2021

Issue publication date: 21 May 2021

280

Abstract

Purpose

The trend of domestic employment thrives almost in every society. It is most common in developing countries and Nigeria is no exception. This paper aims to examine the nature of the role of a domestic worker in Nigeria and the work-life conflict issues involved in such work.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses a qualitative research approach to examine the nature of the role of domestic workers and the associated work-life conflict issues.

Findings

The findings show that the nature of the jobs of domestic workers in Nigeria gives rise to a situation of modern-day slavery in which an employee works without a formal employment contract, with little or no rights to private time. Long and unstructured working hours, employers’ perceptions about domestic workers and a huge workload fuel and exacerbate work-life conflict amongst domestic workers in Nigeria.

Research limitations/implications

The extent to which the findings of this research can be generalised is constrained by the limited and selected sample of the research and the research context.

Practical implications

The primacy of the employer over the employee in domestic employment means that both time and work-based conflicts continue to buffer work-life conflict if domestic workers’ working hours remain unscheduled and their employers’ perceptions about them remain unchanged. This invariably has a negative impact on the domestic workers’ health and productivity. Therefore, domestic employment should be regulated by law and domestic workers should be treated like other formal employees.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the debates on the work-life conflict by highlighting the nature of the role of domestic workers in a non-western context, Nigeria and provides a nuanced insight into the work-life conflict issues involved in such work. The findings add conceptual thought and empirical evidence to the debate on work-life conflict.

Keywords

Citation

Adisa, T.A., Adekoya, O.D. and Okoya, O. (2021), "Modern-day slavery? The work-life conflict of domestic workers in Nigeria", Gender in Management, Vol. 36 No. 4, pp. 519-535. https://doi.org/10.1108/GM-02-2020-0054

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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