Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Illinois Passes a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights

Earlier this month, Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law a domestic workers bill of rights. The law provides domestic workers with minimum wage, at least one day off a week, meals, and protections from discrimination. It also prohibits domestic workers from being paid “an oppressive and unreasonable wage.” The law will go into effect on January 1, 2017.

Prior to this law, domestic workers did not receive the same benefits as most other workers because they are excluded from the protection of federal employment statutes like the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), and the regulations passed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Illinois joins California, Hawaii, New York, Massachusetts and Oregon in passing a domestic workers’ bill of rights. 

This law comes into effect as domestic workers have increasingly pushed for more workplace protections. Last year, the U.S. Department of Labor changed regulations so that some domestic workers would receive minimum wage. Illinois’s law goes further, ensuring that all domestic workers receive minimum wage. 

A number of laws have recently been passed giving workers in Illinois more protections. Chicago recently mandated that employers provide paid sick leave while prohibiting them, and anyone else, from requiring an employee to use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender on his or her drivers’ license. Illinois passed laws giving employees automatic time off for the death of a child and greater privacy on social media.