California Domestic Workers Coalition

A Campaign to Transform the Residential Housecleaning Industry

Led by a committee of housecleaner worker leaders who are experts on their own industry, this campaign seeks to remedy the labor rights violations that characterize the residential housecleaning industry. Housecleaners are uniting to improve awareness of and compliance with existing labor laws. Together with employers and other allies, we seek to promote dignified and fair working conditions in California’s residential housecleaning industry.

The Largest Sector in the Domestic Work Industry:

While nearly two million households rely on domestic work, over half – 54% – of those households report hiring for housecleaning services. This makes housecleaning the largest category of domestic work performed in California.

The structure of the industry is varied, ranging from individual housecleaners that work on their own to housecleaners who are contracted by referral agencies, formal housecleaning companies, or labor contractors who organize informal crews of housecleaners – these informal third-party labor contractors are often referred to as “dueñas de ruta” or “owners of the route.”

A Common Pattern of Violations:

Housecleaners report a similar trend of violations in the industry that includes: low wages, wage theft of minimum wage and overtime, failure to pay state-mandated sick time, health and safety hazards and workplace injuries, and missed meal and rest breaks, among others.

“I cleaned houses for a woman for one year. I worked Monday to Sunday from 10am to 9pm. She only paid me $100 per week. This is less than $2 per hour. I was recently arrived to this country and needed work. Now that I know my rights, I know that such treatment is not just. It is crucial that we respect the rights of all workers and assure everyone has just and dignified work.”

Ericka Chavez, Housecleaner leader with La Colectiva de mujeres

Our Strategy to Change the Industry:

Ways to Support the Fair Work, Clean Homes Campaign:

ONE: Educate Yourself: the first step is to know your rights as a worker and your obligations as an employer.

TWO: Be a High Road Employer: whether you are an individual homeowner or you own your own housecleaning company, we all must make sure we are treating our workers fairly and with dignity.

THREE: Sign Up for Alia: Alia is a new portable benefits platform that allows employers to make a voluntary contribution to their housecleaner for important benefits that we all deserve such as paid time off, life insurance and forms of health insurance.