Will Domestic Workers Rights Bill bring change?

Rocio washes dishes as part of her job. | Andrea Martinez

Rocio washes dishes as part of her job. | Andrea Martinez

California passed a Domestic Workers Rights Bill back in January that extends overtime hours for domestic workers and assures minimum wage protections. However, some workers still experience injustice such as wage theft in such an unregulated industry. We spent a day with Rocio, who cares for kids at a house in Santa Monica, to learn about the daily life of a domestic worker.

Click play to hear from Rocio in a story for Annenberg Radio News:

See also on Intersections: Ramiro Gomez paints L.A.’s “invisible” workers

A study conducted by the International Labour Organization states that domestic workers are critical to the U.S. economy. However, these hard-working individuals don’t receive proper protections granted to the average working American. According to a survey conducted by the National Domestic Workers Alliance Data Center, 48 percent of workers are paid an hourly wage below the level needed to adequately support a family, and 67 percent of live-in workers are paid below the state minimum wage. The survey also found the median hourly wage to be $6.15.

According to the ILO, domestic workers often belong to disadvantaged communities and minority ethnic groups, making them particularly vulnerable.

Despite the industry’s huge proportions, only three states have passed a domestic workers’ bill of rights, which include overtime pay, meal and rest breaks along with adequate sleeping conditions for live-in workers. Illinois, Massachusetts, Ohio and Oregon have all tried passing such bills, but have failed.


  1. Lydia Edwards says:

    Dear Ms. Martinez. Please try reading the news. Massachusetts Passed today the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights!! Massachusetts did not try and FAIL. This was the first time the bill was introduced and it passed on the first time. I suggest you read more. http://www.wtva.com/business/story/Mass-extends-protections-to-domestic-workers/Fr_8_1i4MUWCIE0YIeGmhQ.cspx. I am happy to send a copy of the most progressive bill of rights passed in the nation thus far. Also you should note the day you said Massachusetts ” failed” ( June 20, 2014) was two days after the Bill of Rights passed out of the Massachusetts House of Reps.
    Your map is also wrong. PRIOR to passing the bill domestic workers had, overtime, workers compensation and rights to colllective bargaining.

  2. Lydia Edwards says:

    Sorry, I realize you posted this the DAY (June 18, 2014) the House of Representative Passed out of the House on a SUCCESSFUL first time attempt at a bill of rights. No failures in Massachusetts!!! Signed Campaign Coordinator for the Massachusetts Coalition for Domestic Workers.

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