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Jayapal, Gillibrand, Luján Introduce Legislation to Protect Domestic Workers

WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) joined U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) today to re-introduce the National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. The groundbreaking legislation will finally extend common workplace rights and protections to the 2.2 million domestic workers in the United States, who are currently excluded from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and other key labor and safety laws that the majority of the workforce relies on. The legislation would also improve job quality by ensuring paid sick days, written agreements, and other benefits.

“Domestic workers make all other work possible, however too often they are called essential but treated as expendable,” said Representative Jayapal. “This landmark legislation ensures that domestic workers are finally included in our existing labor laws, giving them access to the basic protections they deserve in the workplace like overtime pay, guaranteed rest and meal breaks, time off, and it ensures they are protected from unsafe working conditions and harassment. It will finally give our domestic workers, who are primarily women of color, the dignity and respect they deserve. As we recognize both International Domestic Workers Day and the upcoming anniversary of the passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act, it is time to get this done.”

“Far too often, domestic workers are undervalued for the vital role they play in our economy and in our lives,” said Senator Gillibrand. “For years, domestic workers have been overlooked by our labor laws and excluded from key labor protections. The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights would close the loopholes that exclude domestic workers from federal labor and civil rights laws and would create critical new protections for these workers. I am proud to reintroduce this bill with Senator Luján and Congresswoman Jayapal, and I look forward to working with them to pass it and provide the federal protections these workers deserve.”

“Domestic workers in New Mexico and across America are essential and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. By requiring employers to establish clear standards for wages, responsibilities, schedules, and time-off policies, this legislation will safeguard the rights of the domestic workers who work in our homes, take care of our loved ones, and perform critical duties,” said Senator Luján. “I’m proud to reintroduce this legislation to implement workplace protections and rights for domestic workers who have been left out for far too long.”  

“The COVID-19 pandemic revealed serious faults in this country. We saw the crisis exasperate the dangerous gaps in our labor laws that impact our domestic and other essential workers,” said Congressman James E. Clyburn. “The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights will close these loopholes and ensure that the workers who form the backbone of this country are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

“Today, with the reintroduction of the Federal Domestic Worker Bill of Rights, we celebrate yet another monumental step forward for the nannies, housecleaners, and home care workers who have fought tirelessly for generations to be included in federal labor protections. Though we have witnessed much progress to make domestic work visible and valued, too many domestic workers in the U.S. still lack basic labor rights and protections. This is an unacceptable and inescapable fact that we cannot ignore any longer,” said Jenn Stowe, Executive Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. “How can we call ourselves a great nation when the workers who power our economy, enabling countless families to work and thrive, are denied basic protections that would give them the overtime pay that makes it possible to care for their families, paid sick leave when they are unable to work, and protections from harassment and retaliation on the job? Today’s reintroduction of the Federal Domestic Worker Bill of Rights is a joyous declaration that we stand with domestic workers of the past, support those of the present, and are laying the groundwork for a future where every domestic worker’s contributions are acknowledged as essential to our communities and society.”

The legislation amends the Civil Rights Act and the FLSA to ensure domestic workers are able to earn overtime, sick days, and are able to request time off for personal reasons, that their employment is subject to a written agreement, that they are provided meal and rest breaks, that their privacy is protected, and that they are protected from workplace discrimination and harassment. 

The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights would also create additional resources to better implement these protections and rights. It would establish a National Domestic Worker Hotline where workers can call to seek assistance on employment issues and also directs the Department of Labor (DOL) to establish an interagency task force as well as a number of regulatory rules to enforce the standards set.

The National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights was originally introduced in 2019 by then-Senator Harris and Congresswoman Jayapal. In the 117th Congress, this legislation was supported by the Biden administration.

The legislation is cosponsored by Alma S. Adams (NC-12), Becca Balint (VT-At-Large), Nanette Barragán (CA-44), Joyce Beatty (OH-03), Donald S. Beyer (VA-08), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), Brendan F. Boyle (PA-02), Shontel M. Brown (OH-11), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Nikki Budzinski (IL-13), Cori Bush (MO-01), Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), André Carson (IN-07), Troy A. Carter (LA-02), Greg Casar (TX-35), Sean Casten (IL-06), Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Judy Chu (CA-28), Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05), James E. Clyburn (SC-06), Steve Cohen (TN-09), J. Luis Wild (CA-46), Joe Courtney (CT-02), Danny K. Davis (IL-07), Madeleine Dean (PA-04), Rosa L. DeLauro (CT-03), Suzan DelBene (WA-01), Chris Deluzio (PA-17), Debbie Dingell (MI-06), Lloyd Doggett (TX-37), Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Dwight Evans (PA-03), Valerie P. Foushee (NC-04), Maxwell Frost (FL-10), John Garamendi (CA-08), Sylvia R. Garcia (TX-29), Jesús G. “Chuy” García (IL-04), Robert Garcia (CA-42), Dan Goldman (NY-10), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Al Green (TX-09), Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-07), Jahana Hayes (CT-05), Jim Himes (CT-04), Steven Horsford (NV-04), Val Hoyle (OR-04), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Jonathan Jackson (IL-01), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Sara Jacobs (CA-51), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr. (GA-04), Sydney Kamlager-Dove (CA-37), Robin Kelly (IL-02), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Derek Kilmer (WA-06), Andy Kim (NJ-03), Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08), Greg Landsman (OH-01), Barbara Lee (CA) (CA-12), Summer L. Lee (PA-12), Teresa Leger Fernández (NM-03), Ted W. Wasserman Schultz (CA-36), Zoe Lofgren (CA-18), Stephen F. Lynch (MA-08), Doris Matsui (CA-07), Jennifer McClellan (VA-04), Betty McCollum (MN-04), Jim McGovern (MA-02), Gregory Meeks (NY-05), Robert Menendez (NJ-08), Grace Meng (NY-06), Kweisi Mfume (MD-07), Gwen Moore (WI-04), Kevin Mullin (CA-15), Jerrold Nadler (NY-12), Grace Napolitano (CA-31), Joe Neguse (CO-02), Donald Wilson (NJ-01), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-At-Large), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Katie Porter (CA-47), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Mike Quigley (IL-05), Delia C. Ramirez (IL-03), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Deborah K. Ross (NC-02), Andrea Salinas (OR-06), Linda T. Sánchez (CA-38), John P. Sarbanes (MD-03), Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Adam B. Schiff (CA-30), David Scott (GA-13), Adam Smith (WA-09), Darren Soto (FL-09), Melanie Stansbury (NM-01), Haley Stevens (MI-11), Marilyn Watson Coleman (WA-10), Thomas R. Velázquez (NY-03), Eric Swalwell (CA-14), Mark Takano (CA-39), Shri Thanedar (MI-13), Rashida Tlaib (MI-12), Jill Tokuda (HI-02), Ritchie Torres (NY-15), Lori Trahan (MA-03), Juan Vargas (CA-52), Gabe Vasquez (NM-02), Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-07), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Susan Wild (PA-07), Nikema Williams (GA-05), and Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24), as well as Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Laphonza Butler (D-CA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Richard Durbin (D-IL), John Fetterman (D-PA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Peter Welch (D-VT).

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