Servants is bold and irreverent, written by Lucy Gannon who's known for such TV hits as Soldier Soldier, Bramwell, Hope and Glory and Insiders. Set below stairs in a country house in 1850s England, the drama focuses on the ambitions of the servants who make the household work.

Type: Scripted

Languages: English

Status: Ended

Runtime: 50 minutes

Premier: 2003-04-10

Servants - Domestic worker - Netflix

A domestic worker, domestic helper, domestic servant, manservant or menial, is a person who works within the employer's household. Domestic helpers 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 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 helpers 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. 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.

Servants - Current situation - Netflix

ILO estimates in 2015 based on national surveys and/or censuses of 232 countries and territories, place the number of domestic workers at around 67.1 million. But the ILO itself states that “experts say that due to the fact that this kind of work is often hidden and unregistered, the total number of domestic workers could be as high as 100 million”. The ILO also states that 83% of domestic workers are women and many are migrant workers. In Guatemala, it is estimated that eight percent of all women work as domestic workers. They hardly have any legal protection. According to Guatemalan labour law, domestic work is “subject neither to a working time statute nor to regulations on the maximum number of working hours in a day”. Legally, domestic helpers are only entitled to ten hours of free time in 24 hours, and one day off per week. But very often, these minimal employment laws are disregarded, and so are basic civil liberties. In Brazil, domestic workers must be hired under a registered contract and have many of the rights of any other workers, which includes a minimum wage, remunerated vacations and a remunerated weekly day off. It is not uncommon, however, for employers to hire servants illegally and fail to offer a work contract. Since domestic staff predominantly come from disadvantaged groups with less access to education, they are often vulnerable and uninformed of their rights, especially in rural areas. Nevertheless, domestics employed without a proper contract can successfully sue their employers and be compensated for abuse committed. It is common in Brazil for domestic staff, including childcare staff, to be required to wear uniforms, while this requirement has fallen out of use in other countries. In the United States, domestic workers are generally excluded from many of the legal protections afforded to other classes of worker, including the provisions of the National Labor Relations Act. Traditionally domestic workers have mostly been women and are likely to be immigrants. New York has required mandatory overtime and breaks for domestic workers since 2010, though a California bill based on New York's, formerly known as AB 889, got through the legislature before being vetoed in September 2012 by Governor Jerry Brown. America’s domestic home help workers, most of them female members of minority groups, earn low wages and often receive no retirement or health benefits because the lack of basic labor protections. The report from the National Domestic Workers Alliance and affiliated groups found that nearly a quarter of nannies, caregivers, and home health workers make less than the minimum wage in the states in which they work, and nearly half – 48 percent – are paid less than needed to adequately support a family.

Servants - References - Netflix