bill of rights and gavel

Legislation protecting domestic workers’ rights is unlikely to pass in Congress this year, according to an attorney specializing in home care regulations. However, Angelo Spinola from the Polsinelli law firm warned home care providers during a webinar that similar laws are being passed at the state and local level across the country.

“Each of these laws vary in what the requirements are,” Spinola cautioned Thursday during the webinar sponsored by the National Association for Home Care & Hospice and the Home Care Association of America.

Currently, 10 states and three cities have passed domestic workers bills of rights. While the laws vary, they typically include certain rights to overtime pay and sick pay for workers, as well as protections against harassment and privacy violations.  

As more states and cities pass the laws, Spinola said compliance could become difficult for home care providers if they must follow two sets of regulations. For instance, Illinois passed a domestic workers bill of rights law in 2016, while the city of Chicago enacted a separate law earlier this year.

“If you’ve got a caregiver who is working in Chicago, both of those [laws] are going to apply, but they are not the same,” Spinola said. “The Chicago requirements enacted in January of this year [includes] an employment agreement and that written contract has to be in the preferred language of the caregiver.” 

Both the House and Senate have introduced separate bills that would provide protections for domestic workers. But neither bill has advanced to date.

The Biden administration has backed unionization of the direct care industry and has been cracking down on firms violating the Fair Labor Standard Act. A recent report found the Department of Labor has recovered more than $9 million in back wages from home care firms so far this year.