A move to abolish the term ‘housekeeping’ is now being considered in a move that would make the term a term in law rather than a term on the job.
The UK Government’s job agency has published draft legislation to make the word “housekeeping” a term not just on the jobsite but also in law.
The move comes in the wake of a series of high profile cases in which people have been fired for failing to keep a tidy house.
The current legislation, which was passed in October, would make “housekeepers” a separate legal term that would include the term “cleaning” but also include “house cleaning duties”.
The changes would come into force in March 2019, which is also when many people would be required to have their homes cleaned by a professional.
Under the proposed change, cleaning duties would only include cleaning a household or an area of a property to make sure that the house is in good repair.
It is also likely that some people would continue to use the term cleaning as a general term, including those who were not cleaning at the time of the offence and those who did not have to.
“The proposed changes would ensure that cleaning duties are not used to justify discriminatory practices, such as denying someone the right to work, or preventing people from cleaning a property due to a fear of losing their job,” the Government said in a statement.
“It is essential that cleaning is a duty that applies to everyone, including employers and contractors, and is not just for those who are cleaner than the rest of us.”
It is not clear yet what the proposed changes might mean for those whose duties are shared by a colleague or even a family member.
“Housekeeping responsibilities” is a term used by employers, landlords and people who use a home to maintain their properties.
It has been around for over 100 years and was first used in the US in the late 19th century, in a series called “housekeeper duty” in which the term was described as “a term of servitude”.
“Housekeeper duty has no legal status in the UK and it is not defined in the Code of Practice of the House of Commons,” a spokesperson for the House Of Commons said in an email.
“As a general rule, the House’s Codes of Practice is not published online, but we will provide an updated list in the House Rules.”
The Government’s draft legislation is being held in secret, and has been kept under wraps since September when a Conservative MP submitted it to the Cabinet Office.
The legislation is expected to be published before the end of this month, but it is unclear whether the move will be welcomed by campaigners for those workers whose jobs are shared between their family members.
A spokesperson for one campaigner said: “It would be wrong to give a new definition of cleaning duty, as we have seen before, when the existing one is not enough to protect those vulnerable people, particularly women.”