Domestic Workers' Rights in Chicago

Domestic Workers in Chicago have a right to earn minimum wage, paid sick days, overtime pay, one day off per week, to be free from sexual harassment and starting January 1, 2022, all nannies, care workers, home cleaners and other domestic workers in Chicago have the right to a written contract. This is one of the first such protections in the country. These provisions expand upon the protections created through the Illinois Domestic Workers Bill of Rights established in 2016.

Women Employed is working with the Chicago Office of Labor Standards and partners ARISE Chicago and The Shriver Center to ensure that Chicago nannies, caregivers, home cleaners, other Domestic Workers, and their employers know about these rights and can access resources as they exercise these rights.

Resources for worker and employers

In 2015, Women Employed was instrumental in securing support and successfully advocating for passage of the Illinois’ Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. In 2021, we supported passage of the ChiBizStrong ordinance which ensures Domestic Workers will enjoy the same basic job benefits afforded other workers in Chicago including paid sick time, minimum wage, etc. The ordinance also requires that employers provide home care and other Domestic Workers with written contracts.

I have always had a contract with our nanny. I think it’s a vital way to communicate how she can be successful in her role working with our family―it provides a clear list of our expectations up front and allows us both to refer back to our agreement when there are questions. The contract covers all of our nanny’s regular and occasional responsibilities, work hours, how hours are tracked, staying beyond normal hours, how she will be paid, holidays, and sick time. It also lists the activities we ask that she not do, e.g., post pictures of our kids on social media. I think having a contract has prevented a lot of potential miscommunications, and it allows us to avoid awkward conversations when expectations are clearly spelled out.

-Brooke (Chicago mom & Associate Partner, Global Management Consulting firm)