Illinois Bill of Rights

On May 11, the struggle of Illinois domestic workers took a major step forward with an overwhelmingly bipartisan Senate vote of 53 to 0 to pass the Illinois Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights (HB 1288).

This historic legislation, which has already passed bipartisan through the House, will guarantee housecleaners, nannies, and home care workers across the state with basic employment protections such as minimum wage, freedom from sexual harassment, and assurance of a day of rest. The legislation now awaits a final vote in the House and signature from Governor Bruce Rauner, who has 60 days to sign the bill into a law.

“The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights will help establish a baseline of protections for domestic workers in Illinois,” said Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago), bill co-sponsor. “The plan will ensure this valued workforce receives the same rights and protections as other workers and will be able to provide for their families.”

“Domestic workers have been a critical part of our homes and economy, freeing up the time and attention of working families across this state. And as a working parent, I have experienced first-hand just how important their work is,” said Rep. Lisa Hernandez (D-Cicero), bill co-sponsor. “The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights is a historic moment for Illinois, helping to not only professionalize the industry, but also elevate the quality of care for our working families.”

“After many trips to Springfield to lobby for the Illinois Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, I am so happy that today domestic workers have been recognized under the law. We do the work that makes all other work possible,” said Magdalena Zylinska, a Polish housecleaner and board member of Arise Chicago. “To support my family, I have gone to work on days that I was sick, worried that otherwise, I would not be able to pay for my mortgage.  The Bill of Rights would help women like me receive the same protections as other workers, and would give employers proper guidelines.”

Since 2011, domestic workers in Illinois have been building momentum to pass HB1288, which would right a historic wrong by including domestic workers in basic labor laws afforded to most other workers. The signing of HB1288 into law would make Illinois the 7th state to extend basic labor protections to domestic workers, and the 6th state to have a Domestic Worker Bill of Rights, joining Massachusetts, California, New York, Oregon, and Hawaii.