How to Help Philly Domestic Workers

How to Lead in Honoring Our City's Domestic Workers

Our nation’s long history of racism has excluded domestic workers from labor protections. And old notions of “women’s work” has long devalued this workforce. Behind closed doors, often working without a contract, domestic workers too often struggle with wage theft, harassment, and unsafe working conditions.

Since the 2019 passage of the boldest Domestic Workers Bill of Rights in the country, COVID had devastating effects on the domestic worker community in Philadelphia and beyond. Thousands of workers lost their jobs, and with them, all of their household income. These workers are more than 90% women, and the majority are women of color and immigrants.

As we all crawl out of the chaos created by the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important that we become aware of new policies and be sure we’re following them. If you hire a house cleaner, nanny, or home attendant, you have new obligations.

Employer obligations under the Philadelphia Domestic Workers Bill of Rights:

  • · Written Contracts in English and the worker’s preferred language
  • · Meal and rest breaks
  • · Paid time off
  • · Notice of termination or severance pay
  • · Freedom from discrimination and sexual harassment
  • · Protection from retaliation, including around immigration status
  • · Privacy and anti-labor trafficking protection

This new policy will benefit so many domestic workers, both keeping them physically safe, in their jobs, and with basic rights that they have too long been denied. But if employers don’t know about this law, it will be hard to implement and harder to enforce.

Here’s how you can help:

  • Implement the policy in your own home
  • Make sure your networks—friends, neighbors, book clubs, colleagues—know about this important policy
  • Learn more about how to be an ethical employer at Hand in Hand
  • Get involved in our education and outreach campaign by reaching out to Erica Sklar, national organizer at Hand in Hand!