new law for 2022 requires contracts for homeworkers | Latino voices | Chicago News

A new prescription went into effect Jan. 1 in Chicago with the aim of bringing structure and accountability to what has been largely an informal economy than Chicago. The mandate of domestic workers covers jobs like nannies, home helpers and housekeepers. It requires their employers to give them a written contract with mutually agreed terms, including salary, work schedule and scope of job responsibilities. The contract must be written in the worker’s preferred language and be revised annually or whenever there is a change in the duties of the position.

“Domestic workers in particular [have] been seen as individual entrepreneurs… that’s the nature of work, ”says Margarita Valenzuela Klein, director of membership organization for faith-based labor organization Arise Chicago. “[But] that is exactly what they are, they are workers who should be recognized with a minimum wage. They should be recognized with certain guarantees. And that’s why, you know this ordinance, it becomes crucial.

Militza Pagán from the Shriver Center on Poverty Law describes the composition of the domestic workforce in Chicago.

“We know there are around 56,000 domestic workers in the general Chicagoland region… around 20% are Latino workers,” Pagan said. “This population is predominantly female. About 90% of domestic workers in the Chicago land area are women. We also know that this is a low income workforce as well. The average domestic worker in the Chicagoland area only earns around $ 12 an hour based on 2019 studies. ”

Pagán said anyone doing domestic work is entitled to the protection of this warrant.

“This contract applies to all domestic workers, regardless of the number of hours worked for the employer, regardless of their immigration status. And regardless of whether he works for more than one employer, each employer is required to provide a domestic worker with a written contract in the language of their choice, ”she said.

Arise Chicago contract specialist and domestic worker Sofia Magdalena Portillo shared some of her experience as a domestic worker cleaning downtown offices.

“When someone doesn’t know their rights or their value, we’ll always be quiet. We’re not going to be comfortable at work that way, ”Portillo said in Spanish. “I used to work with someone who, when summer came, would tell me to clean… the large windows of downtown office buildings. “

“I wasn’t willing to say ‘No, it’s not my job’ or ‘pay me extra.’ I would stay silent because of the fear I carried, “she continued.” That is why I am inviting all these workers [to] learn and know that they are not alone.

Workers interested in knowing more about the drafting of contracts can refer to the The Arise Chicago website for information, resources and sample contracts in English, Spanish and Polish.

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