Illinois will soon become the seventh state in the U.S. to adopt laws extending special protections to domestic workers like nannies, housekeepers, and home care givers. Gov. Bruce Rauner recently signed the Illinois Domestic Workers Bill of Rights which will take effect on January 1st, 2017 and amend four different state labor laws directed at domestic workers.
The bill’s passage is a much needed move for hardworking people across the state who spend almost their whole week tending to the needs of others, often times for little pay and few legal protections from abuse. Historically, domestic worker abuse has been directed towards immigrant women, keeping them in a state of indentured servitude.
One of the most important parts of the law is the inclusion of domestic workers in the Illinois’ Minimum Wage Law, which means domestic workers must now be paid at least $8.25 per hour and are eligible for overtime pay. Until now, Illinois’ labor laws excluded domestic workers from these kinds of wage laws.
Additionally, Illinois domestic workers are now subject to the One Day Rest in Seven Act. This law extends workers a 20-minute meal break for each seven and a half hour work day and at least one day off during the week.
Furthermore, individuals employed as domestic workers are now protected from sexual harassment by the Illinois Human Rights Act. Employers are also barred from paying women and minors “an oppressive and unreasonable wage” under the Wages of Women and Minors Act thanks to the passage of the new law.
Workers in several professions will now be granted extended labor and wage protections under the Illinois Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. About 35,000 people employed as domestic workers in Illinois will be covered by the new law.
Types of worker who will see new protections include individuals doing domestic jobs for at least 8 hours per week, live-in workers, and domestic workers hired by an agency or directly with private citizens.
While domestic workers already enjoy certain protections under Illinois’ labor laws, the new Domestic Workers Bill of Rights should go along way to helping ordinary people trying to earn a living. If you believe you are suffering from discrimination, sexual harassment, or violation of other state labor laws, contact or call the Illinois employment lawyers of Goldman & Ehrlich at 312-332-6733 for a consultation about your case.