Domestic Workers Deserve Employment Protections [Video]

The domestic labor industry is fraught with abuse, mistreatment and labor violations, in part because the workforce is comprised of mostly immigrant women. The fact that these laborers work largely outside of the public eye and unregulated by most labor and employment laws only exacerbates the potential for abuse and mistreatment.

In California advocates are pushing for a comprehensive bill of rights which would eliminate discrimination in the domestic labor setting. The California Domestic Worker Bill of Rights would provide domestic workers with basic protections most employees take for granted, such as:

•    Equal overtime pay. Currently, personal attendants are excluded from overtime rights and live-in domestic workers receive less protection under overtime laws.  The CDWBR would include ALL domestic workers in California’s overtime protections of time and a half after 8 hours in one workday and 40 hours in one workweek and double time after 12 hours in one workday.

•    Equal right to worker’s compensation. Domestic workers are carved-out of California’s worker’s compensation laws when they work in private households less than 52 hours or earn less than $100 in the previous 90 days. The CDWBR would cover ALL domestic workers under California’s worker’s compensation laws.

•    Equal right to reporting time pay. Personal attendants currently have no right to reporting time pay, when they show up to work and their employer cancels the job. The CDWBR would extend reporting time pay rights that most California workers enjoy to personal attendants.

•    Right to 8 hours uninterrupted sleep under adequate conditions. No law currently guarantees domestic workers the right to uninterrupted sleep. Domestic workers often labor around the clock placing themselves and the people they care for at risk of sickness and unintentional mistakes caused by exhaustion. The CDWBR would guarantee domestic workers at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep under adequate conditions.

•    Right to cook one’s own food. Unlike most California workers, domestic workers are often confined to the home of their employer and are forced to eat food that is unhealthy or not to their liking. The CDWBR would grant domestic workers the right to make basic decisions regarding the type of food they eat.

Domestic workers deserve the same basic rights and protections as all workers, and this bill of rights is the first step.

Related Stories:

Hyatt Hotels Told To Clean Up Working Conditions For Housekeepers


Photo from wordridden via flickr.


Duane B.
.5 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Debbie L.
Debbie Lim5 years ago

The least they should get is the minimum wage as a salary. I can't believe they work under such unfair conditions. I hope the bill passes because it's their right to be able to work in good and protected conditions.

Joe R.
Joe R5 years ago

Thanks Jessica. Petition signed.

There is another related petition at:

John B.
John B5 years ago

Thanks for the very informative article but I think the title should be changed to "The United States of America Domestic Worker Bill of Rights."

Edgar Zuim
Edgar Zuim5 years ago

Domestic workers should have their labor rights. After all they are important to maintain the order of a house and therefore should be treated with respect.
They are workers like any other worker.

John Mansky
John Mansky5 years ago

Better late than never...

Tamara H.
Tamara H5 years ago

Fine, that's reasonable, IF and it's a big IF you first:
- actually enforce severe penalties on any employer who doesn't report wages and pay Social Security
- require all employees to be legal and documented and again punish both the employee and employer for violations.

Sheri D.
Sheri D5 years ago

Thank you for bringing this issue to people's attention. Thank you, Aurea W., for the suggestion of leaving a $5 tip when staying at all major hotels. I will follow this example from now on, and I will pass this along to others.

Aurea Walker
Aurea A5 years ago

These poor women are literally worked to early death or disability. Due to my own little business I travel all over the country and stay at all major hotels, have no preference. My own personal rule is that daily I leave a $5.00 tip for the person cleaning my room. Not only because it is the right thing to because their wages SUCK, but also because hotel owners do NOT DO RIGHT BY them! Next time stay at a hotel, take a look at the room when you go in and the mess we leave behind that must be cleaned in less than 20 minutes and for a little understanding pick up just one corner of the matress. Very heavy, multiply by 4 for a single room and 8 for a double. The work really is backbreaking.