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Domestic workers represent an invisible workforce in our communities. They become intimately close with their employers but often lack many of the resources found in traditional employment models. They have difficulty accessing benefits such as health care, retirement accounts and paid time off, as well as decent wages, and are more susceptible to unstable work or mistreatment.

More states are recognizing the need to include domestic workers in employee protections through bills of rights, including New York, Hawaii, California, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Oregon and Illinois, in order to provide protection of basic rights such as overtime and minimum-wage. Action like this acknowledges flaws in our employment model that exclude and disadvantage certain workers, and sets a precedent for improving working conditions and employee protections.

Seattle has the ability to become a city that values all work and all workers. Policy and programs can be changed and implemented that provide domestic workers with the economic stability to provide opportunities for themselves and their families. In order for Seattle to move forward with a vision of equity and fairness, all work and all workers must have access to basic benefits and employee protections.

Anna Robison-Mathes, Seattle

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