Domestic Workers Ordinance

On July 23, 2018, the City of Seattle City Council voted to pass a Domestic Workers Ordinance that provides protections for domestic workers and establishes a Domestic Workers Standards Board. When signed into law by Mayor Durkan, Seattle will be the first city in the United States to have a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights.

Domestic Workers

The ordinance covers domestic workers (both employees and independent contractors) who provide paid services to an individual or household in a private home as a nanny, house cleaner, home care worker, gardener, cook, and/or household manager. Domestic Worker Rights - effective July 1, 2019.

1. Payment of Seattle's minimum wage

  • Domestic workers in Seattle have the right to earn the Seattle minimum wage. See Seattle Minimum Wage Ordinance (SMC 14.19).

2. Provision of meal periods and rest breaks

  •  Domestic workers have the right to a 30-minute, uninterrupted meal period when they work for more than five consecutive hours for the same hiring entity.
  • Domestic workers must be allowed a paid 10-minute uninterrupted rest break for each four consecutive hours of work for the same hiring entity.
  • If a domestic worker's work responsibilities make it impossible or infeasible to take a meal period or rest break, the hiring entity must provide additional compensation for the missed meal period or rest break.

3. Provision of a day of rest after working more than six consecutive days (live-in workers only)

  • Domestic workers who are required to work more than six consecutive days for the same hiring entity have the right to an unpaid 24-hour period of consecutive rest.

4. Retention of original documents or other personal effects

  • Hiring entities are not allowed to retain a domestic worker's original documents or other personal effects (e.g. passport).

Domestic Workers Standards Board - effective first quarter 2019

The Domestic Workers Standards Board provides a forum for hiring entities, domestic workers, worker organizations, and the public to consider, analyze, and make recommendations to the City on other possible legal protections and standards for domestic workers. The Board will hold its first meeting during the first quarter of 2019.

Stay tuned for updates on the implementation of this groundbreaking ordinance. In the future, OLS will convene stakeholders to develop administrative rules and provide input for enforcement procedures, trainings, and outreach materials.

Resources

Rules and Ordinances

  • Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) - Domestic Workers (Chapter 14.23)