Nannies and housecleaners speak up about abuse

housekeeperChicago domestic workers say conclusions from new report supports their case for change.
November 28, 2012 By: Lewis Wallace

A 2011 demonstration for California’s Domestic Worker Bill of Rights. It was vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown. Some Chicago residents are advocating for a similar bill in Springfield.

A new national report suggests many household workers are subject to low wages and dangerous working conditions. The study, co-sponsored by the Center for Urban and Economic Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago, surveyed more than 2,000 nannies, caregivers and housecleaners in 14 metropolitan areas. Authors say it is the first national statistical report on home workers.

The study found that nearly a quarter of domestic workers are paid less than their state’s minimum wage, and 65 percent of those surveyed lack health insurance. Only 4 percent reported being provided with health insurance by their employers. The report also revealed a high likelihood of injury and exposure to chemicals on the job. And 36 percent of live-in workers and 19 percent of all workers said they’d been threatened, insulted, or verbally abused by an employer.

The vast majority of domestic workers are women.

Nannies and housecleaners speak up about abuse

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