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City will create minimum wage, new oversight board for Seattle’s nannies, house cleaners, gardeners

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;
  • 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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9 thoughts on “City will create minimum wage, new oversight board for Seattle’s nannies, house cleaners, gardeners

  1. This will cost taxpayers an extra $500,000+ per year to administer with about 4 new bureaucrats, each earning over $100,000 per year.

    Meanwhile there isn’t money available for a Magnolia bridge replacement, and the streets are overflowing with syringes and feces from meth and heroin addicts run amok.

    • So, wait, are you saying that these people don’t deserve to be treated fairly at work? Or is your objection that the people who will be overseeing it will need to make a living wage to reside in King County?

      • Paul tries to pretend he’s some kind of voice of reason, but is really just a right wing troll.

        He doesn’t give a rat’s ass about workers’ rights or fair wages.

        He also doesn’t provide a source for his costs and conveniently doesn’t point out that most of the people that sit on these boards and committees are volunteers or City employees that have a full time position already.

        And you have to love his sensationalist closing statement, that the City is only allowed to focus on one single issue at a time, plus if we were to ignore workers’ rights, we would somehow be able to afford the $30 million Magnolia bridge AND solve the $300 million homeless problem.

        But that’s your typical right wing troll garbage post in a nutshell!

  2. Makes it illegal to hold workers personal effects and documents? Since when was this not illegal. Also, mandatory breaks and minimum wage requirements are already the law. The law actually encourages paying people under the table by claiming employees are independent contractors and avoid employer and employee payroll taxes.

  3. How are other people with nannies interpreting the meal and rest time? Far as I can tell, even if they are currently paid for this time (and obviously they are on call for the kids) that they are due an additional 30 min + 10 min paid time each day. The FAQ sheet is a bit of joke, they should provide additional hypothetical examples of the implementation.

    Anyone else reading this differently?

    • Yes, that’s how we’re interpreting. They’re currently paid for this time. And if they aren’t actually able to take the breaks (I’m not home, but I’d guess our nanny actually gets this down time maybe 1 out of every 5 days at the most) you need to pay again for the time.

      I think it would depend a bit on nap schedules, and how the day kind of goes.

      I have no idea how we will track this! I guess we’ll just ask our nanny? You?

      • Glad to get confirmation I’m hopefully reading this right. I agree – have no idea how we will track! Guess we’ll have to figure out with the nanny a way to keep a record.

  4. There is no way to track compliance. Agencies enforce wage laws through compliance reporting of wages and taxes paid, like the state reporting for unemployment and Labor & Industry insurance. Of course domestic workers can be paid as employees (as defined by state and federal law) then there would be no problem. Taxes would be paid, employee and employer protections would apply. Once again Seattle is trying to avoid established law because they do not understand the mechanics of the issue.