Home Economics: The Invisible and Unregulated World of Domestic Work

Linda Burnham and Nik Theodore


This report documents serious and widespread mistreatment of domestic workers – nannies, housecleaners, and caregivers – in the United States. They are underpaid, in many cases less than the minimum wage, and often at levels too low to adequately care for their own families. They are almost universally excluded from coverage by labor laws and usually work without a contract or any kind of agreement, written or oral, with their employers. They often perform work that is physically punishing, involving heavy lifting, long hours, and exposure to potentially harmful cleaning products.


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