Council Passes Landmark Domestic Worker Protections

Bill’s champion, Silverman: They’re asking for “dignity, respect, fairness, and a safe workplace”


WASHINGTON, D.C. — The D.C. Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve legislation that will provide significant protections to the almost 10,000 nannies, housekeepers, and home health aides working in D.C., the majority of whom are women of color, giving them comparable rights and protections to other workers in the District.

“These women have been asking for something very basic – dignity, respect, fairness, and a safe workplace,” said D.C. Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I-At-Large), who introduced the legislation in March, along with eight fellow councilmembers. “It’s an entirely reasonable thing to ask for, and I’m pleased to say that from the start, all of us on the dais have been on board with those aims, as we worked through the legislation.”


Bill 24-712, the Domestic Worker Employment Rights Act, requires that domestic workers have written contracts, are clearly told what’s expected of them, and are guaranteed equal treatment under the District’s Human Rights Act. They will no longer be excluded from the District’s Occupational Safety and Health Act and both employers and domestic workers will have access to information and contract templates to help everyone involved create a fair and safe working environment.

Silverman praised the women and men wearing yellow shirts from the National Domestic Workers Alliance sitting in the Council chamber for their advocacy and persistence: “Your determination, your advocacy, your many hours of testimony, your sharing of personal stories of wage theft, sexual harassment, fear of retaliation for asking for a fair, dignified workplace: All those efforts pay off today.”

The bill requires one more vote, scheduled for Dec. 20, before becoming law.