Kamala Harris and Pramila Jayapal Announce Domestic Workers Bill of Rights
Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA)and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) announced that they would introduce a bill in the 116th Congress to protect domestic workers. It would become the first national legislation to extend basic labor protections -- including the right to unionize, protection from discrimination, and the right to safe working conditions -- to domestic workers. In an opinion piece for CNN, the lawmakers teamed up with Ai-jen Poo, who is the Executive Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, to point out that by 2026, care jobs will constitute one of the fastest growing professions in the country. Currently, most domestic workers still only earn $11 an hour or less, and almost all go without healthcare or retirement benefits. “For generations, domestic work -- traditionally performed mostly by women of color and immigrants -- has been overlooked and devalued, even in moments when other workers achieved hard-won gains,” they wrote. The National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights that Harris and Jayapal plan to introduce would close legal loopholes excluding domestic workers from certain federal labor and civil rights laws. “The legislation would also create meal and rest breaks, and establish fair scheduling practices, as well as strengthening support networks for domestic workers who are survivors of workplace sexual harassment and assault. It would include grants for domestic worker training programs and calls for paid sick days, affordable health care and retirement savings, whether the worker is employed by a big company or an individual household,” the trio wrote. “It would strengthen rules to prevent employers from retaliating against workers for reporting problems or violations of rights. And, finally, it would create a new federal task force to enforce domestic workers’ rights.” The demand for domestic workers is predicted to increase with an aging baby boomer population. Read their full piece here.