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Silverstein’s domestic workers rights bill becomes law

silverstein dom wrkrs signedSPRINGFIELD – The Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, sponsored by State Senator Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) to establish provisions for overtime, wages, days off and other protections for Illinois domestic workers was signed by the governor late Friday.

Domestic workers will no longer be exempt from the Minimum Wage Law, Illinois Human Rights Act, One Day Rest in Seven Act and Wages of Women and Minors Act. House Bill 1288 defines what constitutes domestic work and expands rights for this class of workers from which they are now exempt.

“I am pleased to see domestic workers gain the same rights and protections as all working people in Illinois,” said Senator Silverstein. “Domestic workers are striving to provide for their families and current law makes their struggle more difficult, and unfair, while they play an important role in Illinois’ economy.”

Domestic workers are defined in HB 1288 to include workers in homes performing house cleaning, caring for children, ill or older family members, laundry, cooking or other home tasks.

According to proponents who include the Sargent Shriver Center on Poverty Law, Women Employed, and labor and immigrant rights groups, 23% of domestic workers are paid below minimum wage and 58% of live-in workers are required to work during their scheduled time off.

“Their work is vital to families' homes, but they are often exploited. They continue to work because they need the money and have no recourse,” said Wendy Pollack, founder and director of the Women's Law and Policy Project at the Shriver Center.

The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights takes effect January 1, 2017.

Senator Ira I. Silverstein

Majority Caucus Chair Ira I. Silverstein

8th District

Years served:
1999 - Present

Committee assignments: Executive (Vice Chairperson); Executive Appointments; Financial Institutions; Gaming; Judiciary; Revenue.

Biography: Attorney; Degrees from Loyola University in 1982 and John Marshall Law School in 1985; past President of the Northtown Community Council; board member of the Korean Senior Center; member of the Greek Pan-Hellenic Laconian organization; Director of the Bernard Horwich JCC; married (wife, Debra), has four children.