You can find us through Craigslist or fliers at the Laundromat. We live in your homes and prepare your meals. You leave beloved family members in our care. We come from around the globe, often leaving our children behind. But we’re invisible to most Americans. Who are we?
According to Ai-Jen Poo, Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, there are 100 million domestic workers in countries throughout the world. In the U.S. they’re key to America’s 21st century economy, caring for children, the elderly and the disabled while family members participate in the workforce. Domestic work is rapidly expanding, she explains, and doesn’t have to represent a road to permanent poverty for its mostly-female workforce.
With 44 local affiliated groups in 26 cities, the Alliance has sponsored legislation throughout the nation to adopt the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, providing for paid leave,
Domestic workers, such as caregivers and nannies, make all forms of other work possible and play an increasingly significant role in the U.S. economy. However, a new national study found, on average, domestic workers earn little more than minimum wage and few receive benefits like Social Security, health insurance or paid sick days.
Conducted by the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) and the Center for Urban Economic Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the study offers a startling and provocative look into the often-invisible world of domestic workers. Based on interviews with 2,086 workers across the country, researchers found domestic workers face serious financial hardships and have little control over their working conditions.
As a critical part of the U.S. labor force, domestic workers help thousands of working families by enabling them to focus on their jobs. Yet, they are often paid well below the level needed to adequately support their own family.