This study seeks to analyse the socio-economic and health status of women workers in the informal sector in Chennai, India. Informal employment consists of various kinds of micro-enterprises offering commodities and services and home-based work. Of all these different types of work in the informal sector, home-based work is associated with women because of its nature and characteristic features. Home-based work is piecework for remuneration that is completed in the premises of the worker’s choice rather than the workplace of the employer. Women homeworkers face many issues such as long hours of work, low wages, meagre rates per piece, lack of social security and lack of union or organizational support. More importantly, their conditions of work and health are deplorable. The present study has followed the descriptive research method to carry out the survey. The data for this study has been collected directly using the field survey method. A formally structured questionnaire was prepared and circulated among the target sample for this purpose. The questions were formulated using the variables taken from the literature review and research gap. A stratified random sampling method was adopted for the survey. The sample size was justified on the calculation of secondary data and by applying the appropriate formula to collect data from 150 sample respondents in the study area. As the study focuses on female home-based workers, a direct survey was conducted among women workers. The data collected relates to the socio-economic and work conditions of women workers. The findings reveal that 59.2 percent of the home-based women workers are in the age group 25 to 35 years, and the average wage is low at Rs.164.7 per day, based on a fixed piece rate. Further analysis of the data shows that 35.5 percent of the respondents earn Rs.100 per day, which is significantly below the minimum wage. Therefore, the findings reveal that female home-based workers are subject to multiple forms of exploitation such as low wages, delayed and irregular payments and sporadic work. In conclusion, the researcher states that despite these problems, home-based work is the most suitable avenue for poverty alleviation and employment generation among urban women. However, low wages, lack of micro-capital for entrepreneurial ventures and non-payment of dues on time are serious issues that these workers face.

Note on the Author

Dr. Sivasubramanian. K is currently working as Assistant Professor of Economics at Kristu Jayanti College (Autonomous), Bengaluru. He has done his Ph.D. from Guru Nanak College (Autonomous), Chennai. He has published more than 15 research papers in peer-reviewed UGC-Care listed Journals, and He has presented various research papers in national and international level conferences. He has received two best paper awards in the international conferences held at Chennai and Bangalore. The author can contact at sivasubramanian@kristujayanti.com.

Pushpa A., M. Com., MBA., M. Phil., Ph. D is currently working as Assistant Professor at Kristu Jayanti College (Autonomous), Bangalore with teaching experience of 17 years in various Colleges and Universities. She is specialist in the area of Accounting, Finance, and Marketing. She has 18 research papers published in various national and international journals.

Dr. Raju. V. is at present working as an Assistant Professor in Kristu Jayanti College (Autonomous), Bangalore with teaching experience of 18 years. He is a specialist in the areas of Economics, Banking, International trade and Human Resources Management. He has 27 research papers published in various national and international journals.

Mrs. Madhu Druva Kumar. MCom, M.Phil. is currently working as Associate Professor, Department of Commerce, Kristu Jayanti College. She has 18 years of teaching experience. She has specialised in accounting taxation and finance. She has presented and published 15 papers in various national and international journals and won best paper award for some papers.