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Pursuing Justice for Domestic Workers
See details about our victory in this campaign here!
As a member of the Coalition to Support Domestic Workers, Jews United for Justice is working with CASA of Maryland and other groups to pass legislation in Montgomery County, Maryland that would protect the rights of domestic workers, including nannies, housekeepers, and others.
Why Do We Need This Bill?
Important work: Domestic workers provide services that are central to the lives of every family in Montgomery County—care for our homes and families.
Poor work conditions: Domestic workers frequently work in excess of 12 hours per day, 6 days per week, without the right to sick leave, predictable work hours, or vacation time.
Vulnerability to exploitation: The majority of domestic workers in Montgomery County are immigrant women. For reasons of race, culture, language and gender, these women are the least likely to know their rights, and the most likely to be unfairly treated by their employers.
What Does This Law Provide?
A contract: The law requires employers to provide written contracts to domestic workers, specifying the work that is to be done, wages, work hours, deductions, severance provisions, and explaining the policy about when a worker can take breaks.
Protections for live-in domestic workers, who are often the most vulnerable to exploitation. Live-in workers would be guaranteed a secure, private living space and access to kitchen and laundry facilities.
Ability to enforce their rights: The law lets domestic workers report violations to a county administrative body, to make sure that there is accountability for employers who do not respect their employees’ rights.
Why Domestic Workers? Why Not Other Groups?
Respect for all workers: All workers should be paid fairly and treated with respect. But domestic workers have so little possibility of organizing to improve their work conditions that they deserve special protections under the law.
Isolation of domestic workers: Unlike almost every other occupation, domestic workers have no contact with people who could advise them of their rights (like co-workers or human resources managers).
Lack of protections for domestic workers: Domestic workers are not protected by our country’s labor laws, which means that even if they could reach out to one another to organize for better conditions, they have no protection for their organizing activities.
Is This a Radical Change in the Law?
No--Employment law often protects specific groups of workers: Since the Supreme Court upheld special minimum wage laws for women and minors in 1937, legislators have had the power to single out specific groups in need of employment protections. The Domestic Worker Bill of Rights continues that tradition.
This law levels the playing field for domestic workers who are not allowed to unionize. Our workplaces are full of industry -specific labor protections, achieved through hard work by unions. Domestic Workers are not allowed to unionize, so this law tries to achieve what they might otherwise achieve if they were protected by our country’s labor laws.
What Can I Do?
If you are an employer, read and sign JUFJ's Employer Statement of Support. County Councilmembers need to hear from all communities - including employers - that domestic work is real work. If you aren't an employer yourself, call friends, family members or others who employ a housekeeper, nanny, or other domestic worker. Ask them to support workers' rights today by signing the Employer Statement of Support .