Harris, Jayapal Announce Domestic Workers Bill of Rights

Press Release

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U. S. Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) and U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA-07) on Monday announced the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Act, the first ever national set of legislation ensuring the rights and protections of millions of domestic workers throughout the country.

“Domestic workers are one of the fastest growing workforces in our country,” said Sen. Harris. “They provide essential care and support to aging parents, people with disabilities, children, and homes. However, our nation’s domestic workers have not been afforded the same rights and benefits as nearly every other worker, and it’s time we change that. I am proud to partner with Congresswoman Jayapal to introduce the first ever Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Act, which ensure domestic workers- many of whom are women or people of color- have the dignity and respect they deserve.”

“I am so proud to be the House sponsor of this historic National Domestic Worker Bill of Rights. Domestic workers have been excluded from basic protections since the New Deal – and domestic workers are the future of work,” said Rep. Jayapal. “The courageous working-class women, women of color and immigrant women who are demanding their rights today are unwilling to be excluded any longer. When domestic workers win, everyone wins: this bill will protect, stabilize and expand this important workforce in one of the fastest growing industries in the country.”

“For the first time in history, we have a chance to raise the bar for every domestic worker in our country, and set the stage for all working people,” said Ai-jen Poo, Executive Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. “As people live longer, we have the opportunity to embrace an intergenerational future in America, where all of us are cared for at each stage of our lives. All of us deserve to work and live with safety and dignity, and this legislation ensures that no one is left behind.”

Every day, over 2.5 million domestic workers across the United States provide care to children, aging Americans, people with disabilities, and homes. However, these workers- which include nannies, housecleaners, and home care workers- endure systematically low pay, sexual harassment, and a historical lack of protections under federal and state labor laws.

The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Act is the first ever national bill that will provide concrete protections for the entire care sector. This legislation addresses the exclusions of the past, and establishes innovative solutions to long held problems within this sector.

The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Act:

  • Includes domestic workers in common workplace rights and protections like paid overtime, safe and healthy working conditions, and freedom from workplace harassment and discrimination;
  • Creates new rights and protections that address the unique challenges of domestic work such as written contracts, affordable healthcare and retirement benefits, fair scheduling, support for survivors of sexual harassment, and grants for workforce training; and
  • Ensures that rights aren’t just on paper, but that they can be enforced and implemented: “know-your-rights” information, mechanisms to prevent retaliation, a confidential hotline and emergency access tool to address harassment, affordability for Medicaid consumers, and a worker and employer-led federal taskforce.

Along with Harris and Jayapal, this legislation is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Cory Booker (D-NJ); and U.S. Representatives Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-09), Judy Chu (D-CA-27), Sylvia Garcia (D-TX-29), Nydia Velazquez (D-NY-07), Barbara Lee (D-CA-13), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA-40), Grace Meng (D-NY-06), Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA-44), Mark Pocan (D-WI-02), Mark Takano (D-CA-41), José E. Serrano (D-NY-15), Katherine Clark (D-MA-05), Deb Haaland (D-NM-01), Debbie Dingell (D-MI-12), Doris Matsui (D-CA-06), Ted W. Lieu (D-CA-33), Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05), Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT-03), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-10), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-03), and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA-07).

“The National Employment Law Project enthusiastically endorses this bill that recognizes the might and importance of domestic workers,” said Christine Owens, Executive Director of the National Employment Law Project. “The historic legislation represents an important step in rectifying racist exclusions in our labor laws. The Domestic Worker Bill of Rights tackles both the needs of workers historically excluded from the protection of labor laws and sets decent work standards, beyond minimum wage, in this growing industry. We applaud Senator Harris, Representative Jayapal, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, and especially the indefatigable domestic worker leaders in fighting for better labor standards for all workers. In this moment, when workers are pushing for new labor protections and minimum wage increases through Congress, we can envision a world in which domestic work is as valued through our policies as it is in our lives.”

“The National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights centers workers – overwhelmingly women, and especially women of color and immigrant women – who have been excluded from the protection of our laws far too often, for far too long,” said Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center. “This bill ensures that domestic workers will finally have the right to overtime pay, paid sick days, and meal and rest breaks so that they can stay safe and healthy while they care for others. It ensures that no matter what size your workplace is, you will be protected from discrimination and harassment. And it establishes new ways for domestic workers to organize, gain skills and expertise, and have their voices heard at work. Ultimately, this bill embodies the promise of the #metoo movement: a vision of a world that respects women and truly values the work they do.”

“It should not matter that our workplace is in people’s homes, our work caring for others deserves dignity and respect,” said Rebecca Sandoval, a home care worker and member of SEIU Local 503. “Home care workers, and all people, should enjoy basic rights, including minimum wage and overtime protections and the right to join together in a union.”

“Domestic workers perform some of society’s most important work – caring for our children, people with disabilities and the elderly – and for that, they deserve respect,” said Lee Saunders, President of AFSCME. “This bill would close legal loopholes that deny domestic workers basic federal labor and civil rights protections. It would also make job conditions safer and fairer for a workforce that is primarily made up of women, people of color and immigrants. AFSCME is proud to support this legislation, and we will keep fighting in solidarity with our partners and allies until home care providers, child care workers and house cleaners are treated with the dignity they deserve.”

“The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities is glad to see that the Domestic Workers Bill Of Rights includes language and funding to ensure that the rights of workers who provide Medicaid funded services are honored, without coming at the expense of the rights of people with disabilities,” said Lisa Ekman, Chair of The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD). “This bill creates a model for ensuring the rights of workers and people with disabilities simultaneously. We look forward to continuing to work with the drafters and sponsors on ways to advance these rights in tandem going forward.”

“Domestic workers in the United States, who are predominantly women of color, have labored in the shadows for far too long,” said Neera Tanden, President and CEO of the Center for American Progress. “This bill extends essential workplace protections to domestic workers and creates new systems to allow workers to access training, negotiate for fair pay and benefits, and ensure that their rights are enforced—providing a model for upholding high labor standards in the 21st century.  The proposal also includes important provisions to cover additional costs that consumers may face — helping ensure that costs do not unduly affect the disability community and drive people into institutions.

For further background on the bill, click here.

For a detailed summary of the bill, click here.


20 COMMENTS

  1. Harris is again using taxpayer money to gain political votes at our expense. Think about what she is promoting. First of all there are already laws that protect the workforce. However by forcing more certain wages and benefits higher only creates higher taxes and prices for goods to the general public. Remember no one is forced to take any job they feel is not good for them. If you force a higher wage it will certainly be passed on to the public. Also, wage, higher tax burden and more income for the politician. It’s a complete scam to force wage increase because it only increases prices for items needed to live on. Let supply and demand dictate higher wages. It’s worked for America for a very long time. When the Government Forces special wages and benefits, it only provides for higher income tax , higher payroll deductions, and higher retail prices.
    It’s a political scam. Remember no one is forced to take a job that they do not want.
    Harris is using your tax money to promote herself and more tax income for her to waste. I don’t trust her or the rest of the socialist far left. Get smart people.

  2. I don’t think our lawmakers gave much thought that if they voted in a high minimum wage, then this will result in increases on prices of foods in grocery stores, restaurants, rents, etc. Therefore, it’s back to “square one.” The higher minimum wage is definitely NOT a living wage when the cost of everything else increases. The ones who suffer are those people of FIXED INCOMES.

    We seem to be voting in people with no brains.

  3. Maybe they should support U.S Citizens instead. If they want to support domestic workers they should go to those peoples countries and get elected there.

  4. I have a relative who lives in Seattle and he HATES that JAYAPAL woman. She is promulgating Medicare for all, no college tuition, more and more H1-B visas for Indians, replacing American workers and all sort of liberal bullshit! The woman is a total socialist, except where her own comfort is concerned.

  5. These socialist democrats don’t give a damm s*** about anyone of us. They have no convictions or beliefs. They are only in it to get elected to power. They promise anything to get there.

  6. My aunt and uncle who live in King County (WA) cannot stand Jayapal. She was brought up in a country where there is no First Amendment and the people are raised to be compliant, psychological serfs! They are easily amendable. They know nothing about workers’ rights because there were none from the countries they came from. So, now they are bringing their lack-of-values to us. How this Third World woman was elected to represent a large segment of that part of WA state, is puzzling.

  7. I went to her website and read where she stands on a number of issues. First, you have to get past her photo which shows that an Indian elephant must have stepped on her face and squished it to one side. The poor woman needs major facial reconstructive surgery and I know a good cosmetic surgeon who could do wonders for her, my grandfather. Otherwise, her goals are nothing but liberal bleeding heart claptrap.

  8. It’s pathetic the way most of you think. Did any of you learn real American history outside of what you were taught in school???? America was founded for the few, not the many. You think the democrats and this fake socialism is evil? The USA was founded by slave owners, who ripped off the natives and immigrants to build their empire and passed it down to their offspring who now run the country. America is an OLIGARCHY— It’s owned by wealthy that you will never amount to. These politicians are nothing but puppets following orders. Wake up and realize your petty existence. At least these people are trying to put power in the people’s hands.

    • Jerry I don’t want “power tot he people!” Most people are ignorant and many are uneducated. The Founding Fathers laid down the laws which govern us. They knew what they were doing. So, they were slave-owners but that’s how it was over 200 years ago. You need to think in the present, Jerry.

      The so-called “natives” were not natives at all. They arrived on these lands and decimated the original peoples living here. I presume you don’t know that. Do some research on The Kennewick Man.

      My knowledge of history came way after I was finished with a formal education. One should never stop learning!

      I like the wealthy! Like them A LOT. The wealthy are the ones who provide us with jobs and a good, comfortable life…. and serve as example of how anyone can become wealthy in this country.

    • If you read the writings of our county’s founders, they spell out who should be allowed into this country and its not potential troublemakers and moochers. They wanted responsible ones to populate this country. Go to Madrid, Spain and visit the Maritime Museum there and see who is listed by name as manning Columbus’ ships. Those were ITALIANS .. i.e., Europeans! The Spanish crown paid for the ships but there were very few Spaniards on those ships. Not that Spaniards are not Europeans… far from it.

      Our first war as a country was fought against the muslims in Tripoli thanks to President Jefferson who is responsible for what today we call THE MARINES… Leathernecks!

      The Founding Fathers didn’t list any Indians or Chinese or Middle Easterners as being allowed to enter this land. They could smell troublemakers even that early in our country’s history.

    • The last thing I want it for someone to put power in the peoples’ hands! Look what that did to people who went through the French Revolution. Ever study that one, Jerry? It would blow your mind! How about what went on in the Soviet Union when they hailed, “Power to the People!” Millions of people were destroyed. People who were totally innocent … most never even had a trial.

    • Jerry, agreed, the USA is practically an oligarchy due to the lobbying system. The rich make the decisions in America. But that’s much better than for example European countries, where politicians make actually the decisions. Can you imagine AOC making decisions? That would be the end of the world as we know it.

  9. Who is this Ai-jen Poo mentioned in the above story? Poo would be wise to change his or her last name. Imagine Poo being in military service and have a name tab (last name) of his or her uniform. Almost as bad as Fink. Would you want to live your life in this country with the last name “Poo?”

  10. The idiotic Jayapal woman is raising her scrawny kid as an IT! A non-binary freak! She’s aborted her subsequent pregnancies She’s a three-begger to boot! She’s some piece-of-work.

  11. ALL workers already have a “bill of rights” whether they are domestic worker or other. These are called LABOR LAWS . . and they are enforceable!

    Jayapal mentions “working class” women. Everyone who works for a paycheck is WORKING CLASS! If one gets up in the morning and travels to their place of work OR does it from their house and gets a paycheck is included, even if they are millionaires or billionaires Only those who live off their investments are not considered “working class.”

  12. That ugly Jayapal woman was knocked up? Who would do that? One would have to be blind drunk and put three bags over her head! She’s hated by most of the people in King County, Washington. When she’s interviewed on their TV, they put her is low-key lighting, lest she breaks the cameras.

  13. Just look at the list of co-sponsors of this useless bill. That should tell you where it’s heading.

    I moved out of King County (Seattle) and back to CC county here when that moron Pramila Jayapal was elected by a very slim margin. I knew the place was going to-hell-in-a-handbasket with her around Many people left that area and moved to eastern Washington so they could have some breathing room.

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