Luján, Gillibrand, Jayapal Introduce Legislation to Protect Domestic Workers

Washington, D.C. – This week, U.S. Senators Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapa (D-Wash.) re-introduced 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 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.”

“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 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.”

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.

In addition to Senators Luján and Gillibrand, the legislation is co-sponsored by U.S. 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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