Seattle Mayor Passes Domestic Worker Ordinance

By Kelsey Basten

Published on September 11, 2018

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan signed the Domestic Worker Ordinance (DWO) into law on Jul. 27, 2018. The law is expected to affect around 33,000 domestic workers in the city. The new law is effective Jul. 1, 2019.

Who is covered?

The DWO covers domestic workers that:

  • Are paid by a hiring entity
  • Provide domestic services in or about a private home as a care worker, nanny, house cleaner, gardener, cook or household manager
  • Paid hourly or salaried
  • Work full-time, part-time or temporarily
  • Are employees or independent contractors

Employees that are excluded include:

  • Workers in a family relationship with the hiring entity
  • Home care workers paid through public funds
  • Casual workers (irregular, uncertain, imminent in nature and duration)

A hiring entity is defined as any person, group of persons, or entity that pays for the services of a domestic worker.

What are the Requirements?

The law requires employers to implement or expand certain laws to their employees, such as:

  • Hiring entities must pay domestic workers the same or more as the Seattle minimum wage.
  • Hiring entities must provide domestic workers with rest and meal breaks.
    • For domestic workers working five consecutive hours or more, entities must provide one, 30-minute meal period for every five consecutive hours worked, between the second and fifth hour of work. If the break is interrupted by work, the domestic worker is entitled to pay for the full 30 minutes.
    • A 10-minute break must also be provided for every four consecutive hours worked.
  • Retaliation against workers for exercising their rights under the ordinance is prohibited.

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