Domestic and care workers make it possible for the rest of the economy to run. Yet they are an unprotected class of workers, mistreated and underpaid. Domestic workers were left out of the 1935 Fair Labor Standards Act—agriculture and domestic workers were intentionally overlooked because they were predominantly Black professions.
This changed in 2015 when the U.S. Department of Labor extended minimum wage and overtime benefits to home care workers (but not all domestic workers, just in-home care providers). Domestic care workers still cannot unionize. Domestic and care workers are still more likely to be Black, brown, or Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) populations, and about 90% of the workers in the care industry are women.
Care is expensive and care workers are underpaid; yet while these industries are overwhelmingly private, public funding plays a prominent role, especially for adult care.
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