Nannies, house cleaners, gardeners, and more will benefit from a minimum wage, new regulations, and a new oversight board after the Seattle City Council Monday passed a so-called domestic workers bill of rights, the first such legislation in the nation, according to City Hall.
“For far too long, domestic workers have lived and worked in the shadows of our economy. Domestic workers – who are primarily women, immigrants and people of color – and hiring entities have called for more protections. This bill extends basic labor protections to those whose work makes it possible for so many people to go to work, knowing their loved ones and home are cared for,” council member Teresa Mosqueda (Position 8, Citywide), chair of the Housing, Health, Energy and Workers’ Rights Committee, said in an announcement on the newly passed legislation.
“I want to thank my Council colleagues, the workers, the hiring entities, the Mayor, advocates and community members who all came to the table to work on this legislation. Together, we will continue to advance workers’ rights so every worker in Seattle can work in a respected and regulated environment.”
CHS first reported on the planned legislation in June.
The labor standards established Monday include:
- Hiring entities must pay domestic workers the minimum hourly wage;
- Domestic workers must receive proper rest and meal breaks, including a 30-minute uninterrupted meal break if they work more than five consecutive hours for the same hiring entity, and a 10-minute rest break if they work more than four consecutive hours, or pay in lieu;
- A domestic worker who resides or sleeps at their place of employment will not be required to work more than six consecutive days without an unpaid 24-hour period of consecutive rest;
- Hiring entities will not be allowed to retain a domestic worker’s personal effects and documents; and,
- The legislation establishes a Domestic Workers Standards Board, which will be made up of workers, hiring entities, worker organizations and community members. The board will convene during the first quarter of 2019, and will be tasked with recommending how to implement new labor standards, such as retirement benefits, worker’s compensation and sick leave.
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