On August 12, 2016, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights Act (House Bill 1288) (the “Act”) on behalf of domestic workers employed in private homes or residences into law. With the passage of the Act, Illinois joins several states, including New York, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Oregon, in extending employment-based protections to domestic workers.

To be eligible under the Act, workers must be engaged in domestic work (e.g., housekeeping, house cleaning, home management, nanny services, caregiving to persons requiring assistance, laundering, cooking, and chauffeuring) in homes or private residences.  Workers engaged in domestic work for other family members, child and day care home providers, workers that provide less than 8 hours of domestic work per private home, residence or other location, and workers who are sole proprietors or partnerships are not eligible.

As a result of the Act:

  • Domestic workers will be protected from employment-related discrimination and retaliation based on protected characteristics including age, sex, national origin, pregnancy, religion, ancestry, marital status, sexual orientation, race, color, disability or military service under the Illinois Human Rights Act;
  • Domestic workers will be paid a minimum wage per hour under the Illinois Minimum Wage Law (domestic workers employed for at least two hours within a two week period within Chicago’s city limits will paid the minimum wage set by the state or Chicago’s Minimum Wage Ordinance, whichever is higher); and
  • Domestic workers employed for more than 20 hours per week for one employer must be provided at least 24 hours of rest per week (to coincide, if possible, with the worker’s traditional day for religious worship) and a 20 minute rest period for every seven and a half hour shift under the One Day Rest in Seven Act.

The Act becomes effective January 1, 2017, and the Illinois Domestic Workers Coalition expects that approximately 35,000 domestic workers in Illinois will benefit from the Act’s passage.