Jul 28 2022
Take action TODAY by urging leadership to move the National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights forward.Learn More Aprende Más
The National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights is federal legislation that ensures domestic workers are included in common workplace laws while creating new protections and stronger ways to enforce them. The bill, co-sponsored by Senators Kristen Gillibrand and Ben Ray Luján and Representative Pramila Jayapal, will create a national standard that provides the respect, dignity, and recognition that all domestic workers deserve.
This legislation is coming at a critical time for working women. The pandemic not only showed us how essential care is to keep our society and economy going, it highlighted the precarious nature of work that domestic workers, disproportionately composed of Black, Latinx, Asian, and Indigenous women and immigrant women, face everyday. Our elected leaders have an opportunity to ensure that care jobs are good jobs. The National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights is a critical step in making that possible.
Domestic Workers Bills of Rights create real material change for domestic workers. Despite winning Domestic Workers Bills of Rights in 10 states, 2 major cities, and the District of Columbia, federal recognition and comprehensive protection for this workforce is long overdue.
Historically, domestic workers have been excluded from federal workplace protections, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation and mistreatment. This national legislation seeks to rectify this long standing injustice and bring domestic workers under the umbrella of essential labor protections. With a National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, around 2.2 million domestic workers will be able to establish better pay and working conditions and file complaints in situations of abuse. It is a critical step towards creating fairness and protections in the workplace that would keep all workers safe.
This federal Bill of Rights covers major gaps in protecting domestic workers in the workplace by:
The National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights (S.2112 – Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Act) was originally introduced in 2019 by then-Senator Harris and Congresswoman Jayapal.
In 2021, the bill was reintroduced with updated bill text that included lessons learned from the pandemic and further clarified key sections.
In 2023, the bill will be re-introduced for further support in the Senate.
The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Kristen Gillibrand and Ben Ray Luján and Representative Pramila Jayapal.
The legislation is supported by President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh.
In addition to Representative Pramila Jayapal, this legislation is supported by more than 100 lawmakers in the House including Representatives Alma S. Adams, Ph.D. (NC-12), Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), Karen Bass (CA-37), Joyce Beatty (OH-3), Donald S. Beyer, Jr. (VA-8), Earl Blumenauer (OR-3), Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE-At Large), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-1), Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Cori Bush (MO-1), G.K. Butterfield (NC-1), Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), André Carson (IN-7), Troy A. Carter (LA-2), Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Judy Chu (CA-27), David N. Cicilline (RI-1), Katherine Clark (MA-5), Yvette D. Clarke (NY-9), Emanuel Cleaver (MO-5), Steve Cohen (TN-9), J. Luis Correa (CA-46), Danny K. Davis (IL-7), Madeleine Dean (PA-4), Peter A. DeFazio (OR-4), Rosa L. DeLauro (CT-3), Suzan DelBene (WA-1), Val Demings (FL-10), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Mike Doyle (PA-18), Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Dwight Evans (PA-3), Lois Frankel (FL-21), John Garamendi (CA-3), Sylvia R. Garcia (TX-29), Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-4), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Al Green (TX-9), Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-3), Jahana Hayes (CT-5), Jared Huffman (CA-2), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Sara Jacobs (CA-53), Hakeem Jeffries (NY-8), Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr. (GA-4), Mondaire Jones (NY-17), Kai Kahele (HI-2), Robin L. Kelly (IL-2), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Derek Kilmer (WA-6) , Andy Kim (NJ-3), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Teresa Leger Fernández (NM-3), Andy Levin (MI-9), Ted W. Lieu (CA-33), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), Doris O. Matsui (CA-6), Betty McCollum (MN-4), James P. McGovern (MA-2), Gregory W. Meeks (NY-5), Grace Meng (NY-6), Kweisi Mfume (MD-7), Gwen S. Moore (WI-4), Frank J. Mrvan (IN-1), Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), Grace Napolitano (CA-32), Joe Neguse (CO-2), Marie Newman (IL-3), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-At Large), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Ilhan Omar (MN-5), Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), Chellie Pingree (ME-1), Mark Pocan (WI-2), Ayanna Pressley (MA-7), Jamie Raskin (MD-8), Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), Linda T. Sánchez (CA-38), Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-5), Jan Schakowsky (IL-9), Elissa Slotkin (MI-8), Adam Smith (WA-9), Darren Soto (FL-9), Jackie Speier (CA-14), Melanie Stansbury (NM-1), Thomas R. Suozzi (NY-3), Eric Swalwell (CA-15), Mark Takano (CA-41), Bennie G. Thompson (MS-2), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Ritchie Torres (NY-15), Lori Trahan (MA-3), Juan Vargas (CA-51), Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-7), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23), Maxine Waters (CA-43), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Susan Wild (PA-7), Nikema Williams (GA-5), Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24), and John Yarmuth (KY-3).
In addition to Senators Gillibrand and Lujan, the legislation is co-sponsored in the Senate by senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Richard Durbin (D-IL).
A National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights is a legislative proposal that aims to establish uniform labor protections and rights for domestic workers across the entire country. It is a federal-level initiative that would apply to domestic workers working in any state or territory within the United States.
The National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights includes protections for live-in domestic workers such as requiring adequate termination notices to find a new home and access to communications to help prevent workplace abuses. It also closes the outstanding gap in federal law by providing overtime protections for live-in domestic workers who are paid directly by the household.
Most domestic workers are currently covered by federal minimum wage with the exception of casual babysitters, including part-time nannies, and persons employed as companions to the elderly or infirm. Most domestic workers are covered by federal overtime protections with the exception of domestic service workers living in the employer’s residence.
The National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights closes the outstanding gap in federal overtime protections for live-in domestic workers who are paid by private households, so that all domestic workers receive fair compensation and treatment.
The people who care for others need to be able to care for themselves and their families. This bill ensures that domestic workers can earn at least seven days time to care for themselves and their loved ones when they are sick or need medical care.
Currently, many domestic workers are excluded from harassment and discrimination protections. The bill extends Title VII civil rights protections to domestic workers.
The bill creates and funds an Interagency Task Force on Protecting Domestic Workers’ Workplace Rights, including DOL, HHS, and EEOC, to support enforcement and address barriers to implementation and enforcement. It also includes grants for worker organizations to assist workers in the enforcement of their rights. The bill also encourages the use of payment systems or other fiscal intermediaries to help improve transparency, enforcement and the accessibility of benefits for workers.
The National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights establishes a national hotline for domestic workers to call in cases of non-life threatening emergencies or to seek support. Domestic workers will be able to file complaints with the Federal Department of Labor for violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act and with the Equal Opportunity Commission for employer acts of discrimination and harassment.
Employers of domestic workers should learn about their rights and responsibilities under the law, provide a healthy and safe working environment, and ensure they are paying mandated wages and do not engage in any discriminatory behavior or harassment. A new federal law will have higher standards, but employers should already be aware of any state or municipal laws that affect the rights of domestic workers and responsibilities as employers.
To learn more, check out our employer information and visit our partner, Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers Network, online.
Establishing new rights is only the first step. Employers and workers need to know what they are and how to implement them. The bill provides resources for education and outreach, including grants for community-based outreach and education for workers and employers.
In addition, the National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights strengthens protections against retaliation for domestic workers who exercise their rights.
The difference between a National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights and state or municipal-level bill of rights lies in their scope and jurisdiction.
We need to ensure Congress acts with urgency to protect and respect domestic workers now!