Domestic Workers Covid-19 Resources

Covid-19 Resources

The Seattle Domestic Workers Standards Board has compiled these resources to help domestic workers and hiring entities navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health and Safety Resources for Domestic Workers and Hiring Entities 

Governor Inslee's COVID-19 safety requirements for the Domestic Services Industry can be found here. This guidance covers information relevant for nannies, house cleaners, cooks, and household managers. Governor Inslee's safety requirements that apply to gardeners can be found here. This site will be updated as more outreach materials become available, including translated materials. In addition, the DWSB recommends that households and workers take the following measures:

1.     Stay informed about COVID-19 and your risks. Visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for guidance on How to Protect  Yourself and Others (available in Spanish here) and download helpful documents such as the CDC's Household Checklist for planning and making decisions now that will protect you and those in the household during the Covid-19 outbreak, and guidance on Cleaning and Disinfecting the Home.

Watch these videos about the disease and how it spreads: "Protect yourself from COVID-19" and "How COVID-19 spreads" from the CDC.

2.     Where possible, take health and safety measures to slow the spread of disease. As required by the Governor's guidance, households must provide at no cost to workers personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, goggles, face shields and face masks as appropriate or required for the activity being performed, and keep social distance (6 feet) whenever possible.  PPE works as a barrier between a person's skin, mouth, nose, or eyes, and viral and bacterial infections. The most common forms of PPE for domestic workers include masks and gloves.  When used properly along with handwashing, using alcohol-based hand sanitizers, and covering coughs and sneezes, masks can minimize the spread of infection from one person to another. Hiring entities should provide domestic workers in their home with appropriate PPE and ensure that PPE is disposed of or, if reusable, sanitized properly.

Check out these further resources from our community partners:

Tips from the National Domestic Workers Alliance, including links specific to nannies, house cleaners, and home care workers.

Resources from Hand in Hand, the Domestic Employers Network:        

3.     Have a conversation and make a plan. Communication is crucial to ensuring the safety of workers and households. Some issues you may want to discuss include:

  • What to do to reduce your risk of exposure to COVID-19
  • What to do if either you or your employer gets sick 
  • How to work together to keep the virus out of the workplace
  • What is the safest way to get to and from work
  • How to carry out tasks in new ways to stay safe
  • What personal protective equipment will the employer provide
  • What will be a fair rate of pay  

If you need help, the National Domestic Workers Alliance and Hand in Hand have tips to help you communicate your needs including written mutual agreement templates on "how to return to work safely" for nannies, house cleaners and home care workers in English and Spanish.

Economic Relief for Domestic Workers 

The City of Seattle's COVID-19 Resources page contains information and web links for City of Seattle, King County, Washington State, federal, and community programs and services that help residents significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of these programs and services are available to everyone regardless of where you live. All Seattle residents regardless of immigration status are eligible for City of Seattle programs and services unless noted otherwise.

Links to funding available to undocumented workers can be found on Seattle Covid-19 page here.  Other private funds relevant for domestic workers include:

Small Business Assistance

If you are an independent contractor or operate as a small business, you may be eligible for small business assistance. Visit the Seattle Office of Economic Development's webpage for more information:

Unemployment Insurance and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

Unemployment benefits are available to many domestic workers who have status to work in the US, regardless of whether they are employees, independent contractors, or self-employed individuals. Additionally, our understanding is that the federal government does not consider unemployment assistance as a benefit that could make someone a potential "public charge" and that it will not count as a negative factor when applying for a green card.

For more information about the process, visit ESD's website, or call at 1-833-572-8400. Translated information on how to access unemployment assistance can be found at the bottom of the ESD's webpage.

In addition, the Unemployment Law Project provides free information, advice and referrals on a number of unemployment topics. You can call them at 206-441-9178, or toll free at 1(888) 441-9178 to schedule an appointment. Interpretation is available.

*Note: The Seattle Domestic Workers Standards Board offers this information to increase awareness and access. The information is for general informational purposes only and does not indicate an endorsement of the information, resource, or organizations. The information provided on this page does not constitute legal or healthcare advice, create an agency decision, or establish an attorney-client relationship with the reader.