Kamala Harris is introducing the first-ever bill of rights for domestic workers

Kamala Harris.
(Image credit: Paras Griffin/Getty Images for ESSENCE)

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) wants to shake up the current state of U.S. labor law, which often overlooks a crucial part of the country's workforce.

The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate announced on Monday that she is introducing the National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, a first-of-its-kind piece of legislation that, if passed, would provide legal protections and benefits to millions of people who work as nannies, house cleaners, and home care workers, who are often immigrants and women of color. Currently, these professions have few federal protections and benefit guarantees.

See more

"The courageous working-class women, women of color, and immigrant women who are demanding their rights today are unwilling to be excluded any longer," Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), who is co-sponsoring the bill, said. "When domestic workers win everyone wins."

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

The protections and benefits — such as sick days and fair scheduling — would reportedly be enforced through grants to organizations that represent domestic workers. Additionally, the bill would address issues like health care, retirement, and workplace sexual harassment and discrimination.

However, the bill's ultimate fate might be to serve as method of changing the debate around labor laws. The National Domestic Workers Alliance reportedly does not expect it to pass on the first try because of the majority-Republican Senate.

The bill reportedly received input from domestic workers for the last two years. Read more at Fast Company.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

Tim O'Donnell

Tim is a staff writer at The Week and has contributed to Bedford and Bowery and The New York Transatlantic. He is a graduate of Occidental College and NYU's journalism school. Tim enjoys writing about baseball, Europe, and extinct megafauna. He lives in New York City.