domestic-workers-pandemic Martha Mora, who has worked for 33 years in housekeeping at the Chateau Marmont, prepares decorations for cars in support of workers who lost their jobs at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Some domestic workers report that their employer didn’t offer an explanation of their termination or any compensation. 

The COVID-19 pandemic was devastating for Spanish-speaking domestic workers, who six months after the outbreak in the US, continue to deal with the ramifications of unemployment caused by the virus.

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The National Domestic Workers Alliance surveyed 20,000 Spanish-speaking domestic workers from the very start of the outbreak and stayed in touch with them throughout the past six months. The alarming results show that a majority of those surveyed lost their employment and didn’t have access to resources. Domestic workers from at least 48 US states, including DC and Puerto Rico, responded to this survey. 

“House cleaners, nannies, and home care workers have been overwhelmed by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in addition to the ongoing economic crisis. These workers make all other work possible, and yet they are the last to receive crucial support, as demonstrated by this report,” said National Domestic Workers Alliance Executive Director Ai-jen Poo. “We must ensure that domestic workers are not only included in any relief plans but placed at the forefront of our economic recovery agenda in the United States.”

No Job, No Money 

By late March, more than 90% of workers lost jobs due to COVID-19. Yet while the economy bounced back somewhat, the percentage of domestic workers without work is still four times the percentage before COVID-19. 

As households let go of their domestic workers during the shutdown, the reports show that nearly three-quarters of workers did not receive any compensation when their jobs were canceled. To make matters worse, almost half of all workers who lost jobs said their employers never contacted them at all after they were let go. 

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More than half of the domestic workers included in this report said they did not have the financial means to pay their rent or mortgage during the past six months. They also shared that they weren’t sure if they would afford food in the next two weeks. 

No Resources or Benefits 

Unemployment claims in the US reached almost 40 million, however, most domestic workers did not apply for unemployment insurance because they did not believe they qualified. Half of the workers also said they do not have access to medical care.

According to the report, less than a third of workers received the CARES Act $1,200 stimulus check. While food banks opened up throughout the country, more than half of workers said they didn’t know if they had a food bank nearby. 

During the shutdown, as kids continued with remote learning at home, more than a quarter of domestic workers said they didn’t have access to a tech device for their children. 

Click here to read the full report.