It seems like approximately one million years ago (pandemic time is real), but in March, members of the General Assembly passed the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, a series of bills designed to protect domestic workers and ensure they earn at least the minimum wage for their work. This is the first of its kind in the South! The bills go into effect on July 1, and here are three reasons we’re celebrating!
- This is a huge step forward in finally addressing vestiges of Jim Crow surrounding domestic work!
Domestic work used to be done by enslaved people, so when the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 was passed, domestic work was excluded. That means that for decades, employers have been taking advantage of the loophole, and domestic workers have been prevented from earning the minimum wage. 90% of domestic workers are women and half of them are women of color, so by passing the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, we are ensuring that women and people of color have the same workplace protections everyone else does.
- 60,000 domestic workers in Virginia will now have the ability to earn the minimum wage!
When you hire a domestic worker like a nanny or a home health aide, you are entrusting them to take care of the people who are most precious to you. If it were me, I would want to pay that person a fair wage for their labor so that they would be invested in caring for my loved ones and giving them the best care possible. But until now, thousands of domestic workers were exempt from earning the minimum wage. While there’s still more work to do to ensure that the racist loopholes that exclude certain kinds of working people from earning the minimum wage, this is a huge step forward.
- The Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights protects working people from discrimination!
These bills finally ensure that domestic workers have the same protections as everyone else when it comes to discrimination based on race, religion, age, gender, or sexual orientation. Now, these workers will be able to hold their employers accountable for their actions when they need to do so.
Whether you work for a Fortune 500 company with tons of benefits or as a nanny, chauffeur, personal chef, or other domestic worker, you should be compensated fairly for your labor and be able to hold your employer accountable when necessary. The Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights ensures that people who work inside of other people’s homes have the same rights as everyone else, just like it should be.
We’re thrilled that the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights is going into effect starting July 1. This is just one of the many accomplishments progressives delivered for us when they took power. But if we want to keep the good bills coming, we have to make sure that progressives stay in power by voting this November for Terry McAuliffe, Hala Ayala, Mark Herring, and progressive House of Delegates members. Join me in making sure our leaders represent our values by voting this November! Need to make sure you’re registered to vote or update your registration status? Take a sec to check online!