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Illinois Human Rights Act
Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:38pm
Wed Jul 13, 2016

Advocates Urge Gov. Rauner To Sign Illinois Domestic Workers Bill Of Rights

Illinois caregivers, housecleaners and their advocates rallied at the Thompson Center Wednesday, urging Gov. Bruce Rauner to sign the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights.

The Illinois General Assembly approved the measure during the last legislative session and sent it to the governor on June 26.

Rauner has 60 days to take action on the legislation, which would ensure that domestic workers in Illinois are paid no less than the minimum wage, receive at least one day off a week and have protections against sexual harassment.

Magdalena Zylinska is among the 35,000 estimated domestic workers in Illinois. She's a housecleaner in Chicago who organizes domestic workers with the Arise Chicago worker center.

"Since the domestic work industry is rapidly growing, and it is a very critical part of our state, I think it is a matter of urgency for this bill to pass," she said. "Also, as domestic workers, we make all other work possible. We take care of children, aging loved ones, people living with disabilities and the homes of families. We want to be recognized as real workers, and we want to be treated with respect."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:12pm
Wed May 11, 2016

Illinois Senate Passes Domestic Workers Bill Of Rights

Legislation to create a "Domestic Workers Bill of Rights" in Illinois passed the state Senate Wednesday, bringing caregivers and house cleaners one step closer to greater job security and improved working conditions.

The bill, which the House approved last May, now goes back to the lower chamber for a final vote, according to the Illinois Domestic Workers Coalition.

The domestic workforce, mostly made up of women, has historically been excluded from protections under state and federal laws extended to workers in other industries.

The proposed "Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights Act" is meant to ensure that domestic workers in Illinois are paid no less than the minimum wage, receive at least one day off a week and have protections against sexual harassment.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:21pm
Tue Oct 1, 2013

New Protections For Home Health Workers Paves Way For Domestic Workers Bill Of Rights

Last month, the U.S. Department of Labor announced new regulations that would grant millions of in-home health care workers the right to a minimum wage and overtime pay as part of the Fair Labor Standards Act. 

Under the Labor Department's new rule, which takes effect January 1, 2015, nearly 2 million workers who provide direct in-home assistance to the elderly and those with disabilities, illnesses or injuries would be entitled to the same basic labor protections most American workers already receive. 

Since 1974, direct care workers have been excluded from federal minimum wage and overtime laws after being put into a "companion services" category, which is the same as babysitters and is a group that is exempt from such protections.

Illinois, along with 14 other states, however, already extend state minimum wage and overtime protections to direct care workers, so the new rule won't have as big of an impact in the Prairie State as compared to others.

Nonetheless, Ai-jen Poo, executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, said the new regulations are a crucial step forward in the effort to stabilize a rapidly-growing workforce comprised of mainly women, particularly women of color and immigrants.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:58pm
Wed Apr 24, 2013

Domestic Workers' Bill Of Rights Expected To Go Up For Vote In Illinois Senate Thursday

A measure that would recognize the legal rights of domestic workers in Illinois is expected to go up for a vote in the state Senate Thursday.

The Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights Act, SB 1708, sponsored by State Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago), would require that employers of nannies, house cleaners and caregivers pay their workers no less than the  minimum wage and allow for a least one day off a week.

The measure, which has 13 co-sponsors in the Senate, would also require written contracts and guarantee the right to paid time off, pay for all work hours, meal and rest periods, and an environment free from sexual harassment.

“It’s basically time to really cut some of the last remaining, obvious cords connected to slavery that we still have,” said Eric Rodriguez, executive director of the Latino Union of Chicago, one of the lead organizations pushing for the bill.