Domestic Workers Bill of Rights would ensure basic labor protections and transform the way people work in America
Washington, DC —Today, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, alongside Senator Kamala Harris (CA) and Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), have announced that they will introduce groundbreaking new legislation to improve the lives of domestic workers and transform the way people work in America.
The first ever national Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, which will be officially introduced early in the 116th Congress, will provide basic labor protections to more than two million nannies, house cleaners, and care workers across the country, while developing innovations for the future of one of the fastest growing occupations in the country.
“The work of domestic workers is so incredibly important, both as caregivers and as organizers. This is the work that our economy is built on, yet too often, it’s undervalued and underappreciated,” said Senator Kamala Harris. “In America, we all deserve basic rights, safety, and dignity in the workplace. By fighting for fairness and equal treatment, we are fighting for the best of who we are as a country.”
Domestic workers, who are overwhelmingly women of color and majority immigrants, face systematically low pay, rampant sexual harassment, and a lack of benefits. Since the 1930’s, in a legacy rooted in the history of slavery and devaluing of women’s work, domestic workers, along with farmworkers, have been excluded from many basic labor laws.
“For the first time in history, we have a chance to raise the bar for every domestic worker in our country, and set the stage for all working people,” said Ai-jen Poo, Executive Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. “As people live longer, we have the opportunity to embrace an intergenerational future in America, where all of us are cared for at each stage of our lives. All of us deserve to work and live with safety and dignity, and this legislation ensures that no one is left behind.”
The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights will come on the heels of similar laws in eight states and one city enacted over the last decade. In addition to addressing issues facing domestic workers, the bill will:
- Close legal loopholes excluding domestic workers from certain federal labor and civil rights laws.
- Create new benefits and protections for domestic workers.
- Encourage innovative solutions to address the unique challenges of domestic work.
- Create new tools to ensure that these rights are real and that workers can exercise their rights without fear.
“In this critical moment for our country, domestic workers are shaping the future of our economy and drawing the shape of our democracy,” said Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. “Our future depends on each one of us coming together to make change. And domestic workers are standing up for all of us as women, as immigrants, as workers, as people of color. Their strength, courage and power inspires us all as we fight together for workplace democracy.”
National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) is the leading voice for dignity and fairness for millions of domestic workers in the United States, majority of whom are immigrants and women of color. NDWA is powered by over 60 affiliate organizations and local chapters and by a growing membership base of nannies, house cleaners and care workers in over 20 states. Learn more about the domestic workers movement on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.