Washington Employment Law Update – August 2018


Seattle Domestic Workers Ordinance

On July 23, 2018, the Seattle City Council passed a Domestic Workers Ordinance (Ord. 125627) providing protections for domestic workers and establishing a Domestic Workers Standards Board. The ordinance covers domestic workers (both employees and independent contractors) who provide paid services to an individual or household in a private home as a nanny, house cleaner, home care worker, gardener, cook, and/or household manager.

Under the ordinance, domestic workers in Seattle have the right to:

  • Earn the Seattle minimum wage.
  • Meal periods and rest breaks, as follows:
    • A 30-minute, uninterrupted meal period when they work for more than five consecutive hours for the same hiring entity.
    • A paid, 10-minute uninterrupted rest break for each four consecutive hours of work for the same hiring entity.
    • If a domestic worker’s work responsibilities make it impossible or infeasible to take a meal period or rest break, the hiring entity must provide additional compensation for the missed meal period or rest break.
  • A day of rest after working more than six consecutive days (live-in workers only). Domestic workers who are required to work more than six consecutive days for the same hiring entity have the right to an unpaid 24-hour period of consecutive rest.
  • Retain original documents or other personal effects. Hiring entities are not allowed to retain a domestic worker’s original documents or other personal effects (for example, his or her passport).

The Domestic Workers Standards Board will provide a forum for hiring entities, domestic workers, worker organizations, and the public to consider, analyze, and make recommendations to the city on other possible legal protections and standards for domestic workers. The board will hold its first meeting during the first quarter of 2019.

The ordinance is effective July 1, 2019.

See the ordinance