A large percentage of domestic workers must endure long hours, low pay, and health and safety issues in the home, including violence and sexual assault. But, they have limited as they are excluded from major existing federal laws. The Fair Labor Standards Act specifically excluded domestic and agriculture workers, many of whom were former slaves. The historic racism and sexism built into U.S. labor and employment law has existed until recent years with domestic workers organizing around the country to win basic workplace protections.
Illinois Domestic Worker Bill of Rights
To address these historic legal exclusions, Arise Chicago proudly worked partnership with other organizations to form the Illinois Domestic Workers Coalition. After a five-year campaign, our coalition won the Illinois Domestic Worker Bill of Rights! The law was passed in 2016 and went into effect on January 1, 2017. The Bill of Rights includes domestic workers in basic state employment laws, including the rights to:
- Be paid no less than the minimum wage
- Be paid for all work hours
- Meal and rest periods
- Be free from sexual harassment
If you are a domestic worker, or employ a domestic worker and want to ensure fair working conditions, download and use a model contract created by Arise Chicago and the Illinois Domestic Worker Coalition.
National Domestic Workers Alliance
In January 2011 Arise received a request from National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) to conduct a survey of Polish domestic workers, which comprise over 25% of all Cook County domestic workers. To our knowledge, Arise Chicago employs the only Polish organizer from the 300 workers centers across the U.S.
Arise Chicago was solely responsible for surveying Polish domestic workers and made connections with those with whom we built relationships over the past decade. Arise completed over 80 surveys and, based on our findings, felt compelled to do more.
In 2012 Arise Chicago became a member of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. NDWA is powered by over 60 local, membership-based affiliate organizations and chapters with thousands of nannies, housekeepers and caregivers located across the country. Through NDWA, Arise Chicago domestic worker members have traveled to Washington D.C. to advocate for their rights. Learn more about NDWA
Contact our Domestic Workers Organizer Ania Jakubek at anna[at]arisechicago[dot]org or 773-937-1825 to learn how you can support domestic workers, including those who you may employ in your own home.