#TeresaTuesdays – Domestic Workers, Dispositions, A New Intern, and More! ~ Council Bill 119286

After eight months of work by domestic workers and hiring entities, the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights passed Seattle City Council unanimously yesterday afternoon making Seattle the first city in the country to create laws that specifically protect nannies, caretakers, house cleaners, gardeners, and other domestic workers. Thanks to your hard work, advocacy, and collaboration, Seattle is yet again leading the nation on policies to protect working people!

Council Bill 119286 establishes the following labor standards for domestic workers:

  • Hiring entities must pay domestic workers the minimum hourly wage;
  • Domestic workers must receive proper rest and meal breaks, including a 30-minute uninterrupted meal break if they work more than five consecutive hours for the same hiring entity, and a 10-minute rest break if they work more than four consecutive hours, or pay in lieu;
  • A domestic worker who resides or sleeps at their place of employment will not be required to work more than six consecutive days without an unpaid 24-hour period of consecutive rest;
  • Hiring entities will not be allowed to retain a domestic worker’s personal effects and documents; and,
  • The legislation establishes a Domestic Workers Standards Board, which will be made up of workers, hiring entities, worker organizations and community members. The board will convene during the first quarter of 2019, and will be tasked with recommending how to implement new labor standards, such as retirement benefits, worker’s compensation and sick leave.

For far too long, domestic workers have lived and worked in the shadows of our economy. Domestic workers – who are primarily women, immigrants and people of color – and hiring entities have called for more protections. This bill extends basic labor protections to those whose work makes it possible for so many people to go to work, knowing their loved ones and home are cared for. I want to thank my Council colleagues, the workers, the hiring entities, the Mayor, advocates and community members who all came to the table to work on this legislation. Together, we will continue to advance workers’ rights so every worker in Seattle can work in a respected and regulated environment.