My Home is Someone’s Workplace: A Guide to the Seattle Domestic Workers Ordinance
Background on the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights
There are 30,000 domestic workers in Seattle, working as housecleaners, nannies, gardeners, and home caregivers. Yet, domestic workers were not historically covered by our most basic labor laws and were often left with few options when facing wage theft or sexual harassment in the workplace.
That's why workers, high-road employers, and community leaders—including Councilmember Theresa Mosqueda, Mayor Jenny Durkan, Casa Latina, Working Washington, SEIU 775, and the National Domestic Workers Alliance—came together to pass a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights in Seattle.
The new Seattle Domestic Worker’s Ordinance – which went into effect on July 1, 2019 – ends the exclusion of nannies and housecleaners from basic workers' rights laws and establishes a first-of-its-kind Domestic Workers Standards Board where workers and employers come together to establish industry-wide standards on wages, benefits, training, and more. As the first city to pass such a law, Seattle is setting a powerful and historic precedent for domestic workers across the country.
What you need to know:
Is your home someone’s workplace? If so, it’s important for you to know about the Seattle Domestic Workers’ Ordinance, which is in effect in the City of Seattle as of July 1, 2019.
If you work regularly with a:
- Home Care Worker
- House Cleaner
- Household Manager
Then the domestic worker you hire has the right to:
- Seattle minimum wage
- Uninterrupted meal and rest breaks, or extra pay if you don’t provide a break
- One day (24 hours) off after working six consecutive days, for workers who live or sleep where they are employed
- Keep documents or personal effects
- Protection against sexual harassment and discrimination
The law also creates a Domestic Work Standards Board, which allows workers and employers to come together to raise standards for everyone in the industry. This collaborative model means we can continue to advocate for new industry standards, including written contracts, paid time off, and portable benefits.
By hiring a worker through Casa Latina, you’ve already demonstrated a commitment to ensuring dignified and respectful working conditions for all. Understanding the Seattle Domestic Workers Ordinance is another important way to build positive, mutually respectful employment relationships that make everybody happy and your life a little more stable.
Casa Latina is here to support our employers as they understand this new law, and we want to know what questions you have! Click on the link below to share your questions, request clarification, or just get in touch with us. A staff member will follow-up promptly.
|Click to Submit Domestic Workers Ordinance Questions|
In the meantime, feel free to check out the following resources:
Resources from Seattle’s Office of Labor Standards
The Seattle Office of Labor Standards (OLS) wants to help you understand your responsibilities under this new law. For more information, please call (206) 256-5297 or email [email protected].
Visit the OLS website for detailed information about the Domestic Workers Ordinance. They have published several useful documents for employers: a flyer summarizing the law; a Q&A about the ordinance’s main requirements; and another Q&A about rest and meal breaks. More detailed information will be added to this site as the ordinance’s rules are finalized.
|Visit Seattle's Office of Labor Standards Website|
More resources from Hand in Hand
Hand in Hand is a national network of employers of nannies, house cleaners, home attendants, families, and allies. Hand in Hand provides resources they’ve developed in partnership with domestic worker organizations to support domestic employers as they seek to engage in fair practices in their employment relationships.