In a 2012 survey by the Center for Urban Economic Development, 23 percent of domestic workers and 67 percent of live-in domestic workers interviewed earned less than minimum wage. On top of the paltry pay, though the workers reported regular abuse and violations, a full 91 percent admitted that they didn't complain about poor working conditions for fear of losing their job.
In recognition of this grim state of affairs for many low-wage workers, Hawaii, New York and, most recently, California have each passed a Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights, a historic law guaranteeing rights previously denied to workers in some of the fastest growing, and most poorly-paid, occupations in the country. The laws guarantee nannies, housecleaners, caretakers and other domestic workers wage protections, overtime pay, paid time-off and at least minimal protection from abuse and harassment.
Groups such as the National Domestic Workers Alliance and Domestic Workers United are campaigning for legislation protecting domestic workers in states across the country. Write to your state representatives and tell them to fight for a Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights in your state.
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