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6/13/2024 Assembly passes bill to remove minimum wage exemption for domestic workers
STATE HOUSE — The General Assembly today passed a bill sponsored by Sen. Dawn Euer and Rep. Leonela Felix to require workers in domestic service to be paid Rhode Island’s minimum wage.

The legislation (2024-S 2021, 2024-H 7532) now heads to the governor’s desk.

As Rhode Island’s minimum wage has increased over the years, one essential group of workers hasn’t seen a raise: domestic workers. That’s because under state minimum wage law, they aren’t considered employees. This bill would eliminate this exemption.

“There’s no reason some workers shouldn’t have minimum wage protections just because they work in households,” said Senator Euer (D-District 13, Newport, Jamestown), who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee. “This bill extends a very basic protection to some of our most essential workers while removing one of the most puzzling statutes in Rhode Island law.”

Said Representative Felix (D-Dist. 61, Pawtucket), “Domestic workers are employees just like workers in any other industry in Rhode Island. They are also disproportionally women, people of color and immigrants. This is the year to end this discriminatory exemption.”

This bill would remove a provision that classifies “any individual employed in domestic service or in or about a private home” as not an employee for the purposes of Rhode Island’s minimum wage laws. Currently Rhode Island domestic workers are only guaranteed the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

This discrepancy in minimum wage law overwhelmingly impacts women and people of color. According to the Economic Policy Institute, in the United States 90% of domestic workers are women and over 51% are Black, Hispanic, or Asian American and Pacific Islander women.

The legislation is supported by domestic workers, the AFL-CIO, the Rhode Island ACLU, the Economic Progress Institute, SEIU 1199 and the Rhode Island Center for Justice.

For more information, contact:
Tristan Grau, Publicist
State House Room B20
Providence, RI 02903