Aug 29, 2016

Illinois Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights Act signed into law

Illinois domestic workers will have greater wage and workplace protections starting on January 1, 2017. Earlier this spring, Chuhak & Tecson, P.C.’s Employment Law Practice Group provided a detailed description of legislation proposed by the Illinois Senate designed to protect and enhance the rights of domestic workers in the State. The Illinois Senate unanimously passed its bill, chiefly sponsored by Illinois State Senator Ira Silverstein, on May 11, 2016. The Senate’s bill was reviewed and approved by the Illinois House on May 29, 2016 and Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed the legislation into law on August 12, 2016.

The Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights Act (the Act) amends four Illinois laws, the Illinois Human Rights Act, the Illinois Minimum Wage Law, the One Day Rest in Seven Act and the Wages of Women and Minors Act, to provide for overtime, wages, days off and anti-discrimination and anti-harassment protections for Illinois’ domestic workers employed in private homes and residences throughout the State. The Act defines domestic workers to include workers who provide house cleaning, caring for children, ill or older family members, laundry, cooking, driving and other home tasks. It excludes family members like parents, spouses and children who perform these tasks for their families; workers employed by child and day care home providers; the occasional (less than eight hours a week) cleaning person who works for several families; and workers who are sole proprietors or in partnerships. Some protections also are limited to employers of four or more domestic workers.

This Act protects domestic workers from employment-based discrimination and retaliation based on their protected characteristics, including race, age, national origin, gender identification, disability and veteran status. It also requires domestic workers be paid a minimum wage per hour, which in Chicago is now $10.50/hour, and ensures that domestic workers receive a full 24 consecutive hours off each week and a 20 minute rest break for every 7 1/2 hour shift.

The Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights Act is viewed as a substantial victory for domestic workers who now will gain the same rights and protections as other working people in Illinois. By passing this law, Illinois joins only a handful of other states, including California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York and Oregon that offer these protections. The Illinois Domestic Workers Coalition estimates that this Act will benefit approximately 35,000 Illinois domestic workers.

If you have questions about how this new law could impact you, contact Chuhak & Tescon’s Employment Law attorneys. 

This Chuhak & Tecson, P.C. communication is intended only to provide information regarding developments in the law and information of general interest. It is not intended to constitute advice regarding legal problems and should not be relied upon as such.

Client alert authored by: Jeralyn H. Baran, Principal