In Washington DC, domestic workers are the only group of workers excluded from DC’s Human Rights Act, which protects workers from discrimination on the job. 47,000 domestic workers live in the DMV metro area.

A Domestic Workers Bill of Rights in DC would include domestic workers, many of whom regularly experience sexual harassment, wage theft, and other forms of workplace discrimination, in basic legal rights.

By passing this bill in the DC Council, the legislation would:

Include domestic workers in DC’s Human Rights Act, to provide protection against sexual harassment and discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation, and other characteristics

End the exclusion of domestic workers from DC’s occupational health and safety law

Require written agreements between domestic workers and their employers to ensure workers know their rights and employers are aware of their responsibilities

Establish a Domestic Work Outreach and Education Program within the Department of Employment Services (DOES). DOES will collaborate with organizations that work with domestic workers and employers to provide education and training on labor standards in the industry.

Support the DC Domestic Workers Bill of Rights

Email Chairman Mendelson to tell him you support a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, and add your name to our petition to fight for dignity and respect with DC’s domestic workers.

Background

Domestic work is one of the most important and fastest growing jobs in the country, yet it is some of the most unprotected and vulnerable work, excluded from basic labor rights and protections and primarily done by women of color and immigrants.

Of the 47,319 domestic workers living in the DMV metro area

  • 93% are women
  • 78% are people of color
  • 65% are immigrants

The median annual earnings for a domestic worker in the DMV metro area is $21,573.

In Washington DC, domestic workers are subject to wage theft, workplace discrimination, unstable schedules, lack of access to basic workplace benefits, and more.

Domestic workers are the only group of workers excluded from DC’s Human Rights Act. This exclusion is a remnant of a long legacy of racism that dates back to slavery. The exclusion from DC’s Human Rights Act reflects the federal exclusions of domestic workers from several bedrock workplace protections passed in the 1930s. Domestic workers were intentionally excluded from these protections in order to gain the votes of southern lawmakers, who did not want to include the overwhelmingly Black workforce that did domestic work at the time.

Campaign Updates
  • Group with Councilmember SilvermanOn Tuesday March 15, At-Large Councilmember Elissa Silverman introduced a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights in the DC Council — B24-0712, the Domestic Worker Employment Rights Amendment Act of 2022. The bill was co-introduced by 8 other members of the DC Council, At-Large Councilmember Robert White, At-Large Councilmember Christina Henderson, At-Large Councilmember Anita Bonds, Councilmember Brianne Nadeau, Councilmember Brooke Pinto, Councilmember Janeese Lewis George, Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, and Councilmember Charles Allen.
  • The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights will have a public hearing in the Labor and Workforce Development Committee on June 16th at 11am. Sign up to testify here!
  • 49 organizations from throughout DC signed a letter endorsing the DC Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. You can add your organization’s name to the organizational endorsement letter using this form.
  • 43 faith leaders from communities in the DMV sent a letter to the DC Council calling on the Council to pass a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights
  • Read stories from domestic workers from the NDWA DC Chapter here.
  • In February 2022, the DC Chapter of the National Domestic Workers Alliance released a new video that uses the stories of domestic workers and employers in DC to share why a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights is urgently needed.

  • In July 2021, the DC Chapter of the National Domestic Workers Alliance held a town hall with DC At-Large Councilwoman Elissa Silverman to amplify the stories of domestic workers and the need for the DC Council to pass a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights.
    DC Bill of Rights
  • Are you an employer of a domestic worker and live in DC? Our partners at Hand in Hand are organizing employers in support of this bill. Sign this petition and get involved.