Seattle passes bill of rights for domestic workers

SEATTLE — The Seattle City Council today passed a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. While eight states have similar legislation, sponsors say that Seattle is the first city to pass such a law.

“We're applying basic labor protections to these workers so that all work can have dignity and respect,” said Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda.

Domestic workers such as housekeepers and nannies filled the council chamber.

“It's important to take care of our domestic workers because it's fair and they take care of the most important in our lives, our children, our parents, our grandparents and our homes,” said Araceli Hernandez of Casa Latina.

The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights includes a paid minimum wage, 30-minute lunch break, and for live-in workers, at least one day off after six days of working.

Krista Hanson needs to employ a care worker for her son and told the council she supports the new law.

“Oh, I am so grateful to the council to be in a city where we value work and the work of all people and particularly work that's done mostly by women of color.”

Yet to be answered is the cost of enforcing the new law. But Mosqueda believes they'll contract with existing nonprofits instead of hiring many new employees.

“What we saw in New York is that they had a domestic worker ambassador program were people went out and they talked to individuals in parks at daycare settings so that people knew where to go if they had questions.”

Seattle is the very first city or state to create a Domestic Worker Standards Board to monitor enforcement of the new law and develop additional recommendations.

Click here for more information on the Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights.

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