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Will Gov. Rauner Sign Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights?

Magdalena Zylinska, right, speaks in support of the Illinois Domestic Workers Bill of Rights during a rally in Springfield. (Arise Chicago)
Magdalena Zylinska, right, speaks in support of the Illinois Domestic Workers Bill of Rights during a rally in Springfield. (Arise Chicago)
July 13, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Advocates for the rights of domestic workers are urging Gov. Bruce Rauner to sign legislation they're calling "historic."

The Illinois Domestic Workers Bill of Rights would officially make domestic work a recognized vocation in the state, extending workplace protections to the service jobs of nannies, housekeepers, home-care workers, cooks and chauffeurs. If it becomes law, said state Sen. Ira Silverstein, D-Chicago, the bill's sponsor, it would bring those workers up to speed with most other types of employees in the state.

"It makes these workers subject to minimum wage," he said. "It makes them subject to the Illinois Human Rights Act, the 'One Day Rest In Seven Act,' and puts them on equal footing with other workers."

The bill heads to the governor's desk today, and he has about two months to sign it. If that happens, Illinois would become the seventh state to enact similar legislation.

A group of domestic workers and advocacy groups was to rally this morning outside the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago. Longtime housekeeper Magdalena Zylinska planned to be there, asking the governor to sign the bill that she called long overdue.

"Domestic workers for generations have been excluded from basic protection and labor rights," she said, "and I think that's very important that, when you're working seven days a week, at least you're able to take one day off."

If Illinois adopts the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, 35,000 workers across the state are expected to earn at least minimum wage, gain protections against sexual harassment and earn the right to one day off after working more than 20 hours.

The text of the legislation, House Bill 1288, is online at ilga.gov.

Brandon Campbell, Public News Service - IL