The Los Angeles County Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA), in the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA) hosted a media forum to promote a new campaign: “Your Home Is Someone’s Workplace: Domestic Work in Los Angeles County” to raise awareness of how LA County can help protect and advance the well-being of domestic workers.
“Your Home is Someone’s Workplace” highlights how domestic workers have contributed to the County’s economic survival during the pandemic, how private-household and other employers can provide fair and responsible workplaces, and how the media can help the County’s efforts to support all workers in LA County, including domestic workers.
The media forum coincided with this week’s approval by the Board of Supervisors to create the Office of Labor Equity within DCBA. The new office will target enforcement on key industries, including the domestic work industry. The Office of Labor Equity will build on the successful track record of DCBA’s Wage Enforcement program, which has investigated complaints of minimum wage violations in unincorporated Los Angeles County and helped put millions of dollars in back wages and fines back into the pockets of for workers. DCBA also helped to implement the innovative worker protections the Board put into place during the pandemic, including paid vaccine leave, Hero Pay for grocery store workers, and health and safety anti-retaliation ordinances.
Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who authored the motion to create the new Office of Labor Equity, co-hosted the forum with OIA. They were joined by the California Domestic Workers Coalition, and Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers Network.
“People are leaving the workforce because they don’t feel valued, and how can employees feel valued if their employers put employee health at risk by failing to enforce vaccination or mask mandates, don’t pay a minimum wage, or fail to pay overtime?,” said Kuehl. “Employers need to understand the root causes of The Great Attrition, and step up to provide a high level of workplace safety, wage compliance, and flexibility to their workers. LA County‘s recovery will not go well if workers continue to leave our local economy.”
“The Department of Consumer and Business Affairs is committed to protecting LA County workers by enforcing several worker protection ordinances and securing back wages owed to workers,” said DCBA Director Rafael Carbajal. “The new Office of Labor Equity will be equipped to expand our efforts to ensure workers, including domestic workers, are treated equitably throughout the county.”
“The majority of domestic workers are immigrant women of color. This media forum underscores the importance of applying the immigrant lens to understand the unique experiences of immigrant workers in the County,” said Rigo Reyes, OIA Executive Director.
“The California Domestic Workers Coalition is honored to be part of this event. Media forums like these and initiatives such as the creation of the Office of Labor Equity are how we will continue to create a path that centers, uplifts and makes visible the stories of the thousands of domestic workers that are caring for our families every day, but also seeking dignity at their workplaces,” offered Kimberly Alvarenga, Director of the California Domestic Workers Coalition.
“There are 2 million households in California that hire for childcare, housecleaning or homecare. Due to the invisibility of this work, most of these households don’t realize they are considered employers with responsibilities. Today’s L.A. County forum on domestic work is an incredible opportunity to invite journalists to be partners in educating domestic employers about how to follow the law and treat their employees fairly,” said Stacy Kono, Executive Director of Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers Network.
Click here for more information about “Your Home Is Someone Else’s Workplace” campaign on domestic workers.
Click here for information about the County’s wage enforcement program in unincorporated areas.