Latest updates from the campaign:
On Friday, July 27, 2018 Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan visited Casa Latina and signed the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights into law. It will take effect in July 2019.
If you'd like to get involved with our educational campaigns regarding this new law, please contact Veronique Facchinelli, Community Programs Director, at 206.686.2635.
The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights that was approved by Seattle City Council and signed into law by Mayor Jenny Durkan:
- Requires that domestic workers are paid the Seattle minimum wage.
- Establishes uninterrupted meal and rest periods, including financial compensation if responsibilities require working without breaks.
- Provides one day (24 hours) off in a seven-day period for workers that reside where they are employed.
- Prohibits employers from confiscating the documents or other personal effects of their workers.
- Institutes a Domestic Workers Standards Board to establish further standards.
Why it's historic: The new ordinance will end the exclusion of nannies and housecleaners from basic workers' rights laws and establish 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.
Background: 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.
This might seem improbable in the 21st century, but unfortunately, things are just beginning to change. Why? Labor laws, including the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and federal anti-discrimination laws exclude most domestic workers. The federal minimum wage and overtime law now protects most domestic workers, but still excludes live-in help, babysitters, and others. Experts on labor law call these exclusions a “holdover from slavery.” In practice, they create workplaces ripe for abuse and discrimination.
The result in real life for many domestic workers is an appallingly high level of economic instability, even if they’re working forty hours a week. According to a report from the University of Illinois at Chicago, 23% of domestic workers are unable to save any money for the future; 20% of workers do not always have sufficient food in their own homes; 40% of workers are forced to occasionally pay essential bills late; and 60% of workers spend more than half of their income on rent or mortgage payments.
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.