Advancing the rights of working families.

The Need to Value Care Work

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The United States suffers from widespread and persistent devaluation of care work. Our country treats the work of caring for children, the elderly, and those who are sick or disabled as secondary to other forms of labor. As a result, the work of caregiving is often poorly compensated or completely unpaid and, because it is treated as a private concern, the labor it involves becomes invisible. The labor of stay-at-home parents is taken for granted and domestic workers who provide paid care usually perform their labor without adequate legal protections.

 

Domestic Workers' Rights

Existing laws should be expanded to cover domestic workers, who often work in an unregulated underground economy. The nearly 200,000 domestic workers in New York City provide a vital service to their employers, and enable the city to function as a center of global business and activity. These workers deserve the same quality of legal protections and workplace standards as workers whose labor happens outside the home. These workers have been excluded from labor laws for decades. Valuing caregiving means valuing the work of those who provide care to our families in our homes.

Domestic Workers and Paid Sick Days in New York City

Domestic workers in New York have a right to paid sick days under the New York City Earned Sick Time Act. We wrote a blog post that provides an overview of this right, and click here to read our in-depth fact sheet on domestic workers' right to paid sick days in New York City. If you are a domestic worker in New York City and have questions about the law, or problems at work related to sick time, call our hotline for FREE and confidential legal advice at 212-430-5982. Se habla Espanol. 

New York Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights 

On November 29, 2010, New York became the first state in the nation to enact a Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights.  The law guarantees basic labor protections for nannies, housekeepers and caregivers for the elderly.  Congratulations to Domestic Workers United and all of their allies for this momentous achievement!  

Click here for detailed information from the New York State Department of Labor about the new law.

Domestic Workers' Rights in other States

In 2012, the California Domestic Worker Bill of Rights, AB #889, passed the California State Senate and State Assembly.  Unfortunately, Governor Brown vetoed the bill.  This legislation, which was supported by the New York Times' editorial board, would have provided basic labor protections to more than 200,000 domestic workers in California. 

Click here to learn more about the campaign to pass a Domestic Worker Bill of Rights in California.

Protect Direct Care Workers

Direct care workers provide support and services to millions of older Americans and individuals with disabilities. Their work is essential to the health and independence of those in need of care. However, current labor laws exclude direct care workers from federal minimum wage and overtime protections.  The Department of Labor has proposed a rule to change this loophole.  Please click below to read two letters in support of changing the policy and our comment submitted to the Department of Labor supporting the proposed rule.

 

Social Security for At-Home Family Caregivers

Parents who stay home to care for their children, and workers who stay home to care for sick parents and partners, earn zero Social Security credits for their efforts. The failure of the Social Security system to recognize and value the work of at-home caregivers can leave them in financial peril if they lose their other sources of monetary support. Congress has considered legislation to remedy this inequality but has not yet passed such a law.

Caring Across Generations

A Better Balance is part of the leadership team for the Caring Across Generations campaign. CAG works to support elderly individuals, people with disabilities, and their families with finding high-quality, affordable care. CAG also supports the workers who provide the direct care to those in need. As the baby boomers age, more and more individuals will be in need of long-term care and more direct care workers will need rights and protections. CAG seeks to transform current policies to meet these needs.

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Valuing Care Work Resources

Caring Across Generations

CAG-logo

A Better Balance is part of the leadership team for the Caring Across Generations campaign. CAG works to support elderly individuals, people with disabilities, and their families with finding high-quality, affordable care. CAG also supports the workers who provide the direct care to those in need. As the baby boomers age, more and more individuals will be in need of long-term care and more direct care workers will need rights and protections. CAG seeks to transform current policies to meet these needs.

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