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Jayapal, Harris Announce Domestic Workers Bill of Rights

Bill Would Strengthen Protections and Benefits for All Domestic Workers

Washington D.C. — Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) on Monday announced the launch of 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.

“I am so proud to be the House sponsor of this historic National Domestic Workers 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.”

“Domestic workers are one of the fastest growing workforces in our country,” said Sen. Harris. “They provide essential care to aging parents, 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-d have the dignity and respect they deserve.”

More than two million domestic workers go to work in people’s homes across the U.S. every day.

These workers care for children, clean homes, allow older persons to remain in their homes and support the independence of people with disabilities.  However, domestic workers are often not covered by the basic protections available to most other workers – and the isolated nature of their work leaves them vulnerable to. This fragmented workforce also struggles to access work-related benefits like workers compensation insurance, health and safety protections, and retirement security. 

These exclusions have caused serious harm to this workforce. Domestic workers face high levels of wage theft, sexual harassment, discrimination, workplace injuries and trafficking. 

Without federal intervention, millions of workers will be left behind and vulnerable.  

The National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights does the following:  

  • Fills in key gaps in employment protections.
  • Builds on state innovations to create workplace protections specific to domestic work.
  • Provides tailored protections for the most vulnerable and trafficked workers.
  • Ensures that federal agencies competently support and protect domestic workers.
  • Commissions research to better protect and stabilize this workforce.
  • Invests in the stability and expansion of this workforce.
  • Supports innovative new worker education and empowerment models.
  • Addresses low-income employers’ needs.