Hidden Labor in the Sunshine State: Protecting Florida's Domestic Workers

Executive Summary

Florida has more than 112,000 domestic workers who care for and provide in-home cleaning services to families, children, seniors, and people with disabilities. Domestic workers, despite being indispensable and a vital part of the state’s workforce, have for decades faced discrimination and numerous barriers to economic stability. COVID-19 and the subsequent financial fallout only exacerbated these inequities. Common roadblocks domestic workers face include meager wages, unsafe and unstable working conditions, scant benefits, and lack of state and federal protections afforded other working people.

Florida Policy Institute (FPI) took a deeper look into this essential workforce and found the following:

  • Three in five domestic workers (60 percent) are immigrants, while just 26 percent of other working Floridians are.
  • More than nine in 10 Florida domestic workers (94 percent) are women, while 47 percent of other working Floridians are.
  • 46 percent of domestic workers in Florida are Latina and 24 percent are Black, while Latina and Black workers account for 28 percent and 15 percent of all other workers, respectively.
  • Domestic workers’ median wage is roughly half the median wage of all other working Floridians.

To counter this historical discrimination, Florida lawmakers should enact a statewide domestic workers bill of rights, as at least nine other states and three cities have done over the past decade.

‍Doing so would ensure that over 112,000 working Floridians:

  • are paid a living wage and overtime;
  • receive written contracts of their work arrangements;
  • are protected from invasions of privacy and confidentiality violations; and
  • can collectively bargain and weigh in on workplace policy decisions.

Importantly, such a measure must include all of Florida’s domestic workers, regardless of whether they have a documented immigration status.

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