Domestic workers are the backbone of our country’s labor force. Their work is essential: they care for our loved ones, assist people with disabilities, clean our homes, and nurture our children. Yet, despite the value of their labor, domestic workers have historically been excluded from the protections that, under state law, are extended to other industries. This has led to a workforce that is isolated and vulnerable. Domestic work ranks among the top industries where trafficked workers are found.
On Friday, August 12, 2016, Governor Rauner signed the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights into law. This historic victory is a testament to the dedication of the workers who led a 5 year campaign for their own basic labor rights. JCUA has endorsed this campaign since Summer 2015, and officially joined the IL Domestic Workers Coalition in February of 2016.
JCUA continues to work on this campaign by educating employees on their new obligations and informing workers about their new rights including:
- IL Minimum Wage Law: Guarantees domestic workers the state minimum wage.
- IL One Day Rest in Seven Act: Guarantees domestic workers who work for one employer 20+ hours a week one day of rest in each work week.
- IL Human Rights Act: Guarantees a right to recourse for sexual harassment
- IL Wages of Women and Minors Act: Ensures domestic workers receive wages that are fair and reasonable.
WHY IS JCUA INVOLVED
Our tradition has numerous texts dealing not only with the fair treatment of workers by their employers, but also workers’ rights to establish these guidelines for themselves. The Jewish community also has a long-standing history of working on labor issues and fighting for the fair, equal, and safe treatment of all workers. We stand as allies with workers fighting for these basic rights for themselves, rights we all too often take for granted.