Under a new ordinance enacted by the Chicago City Council, all household employers in the city must now provide their workers with a written contract in their preferred language. The rule went into effect on January 1, 2022. Chicago becomes the largest city in the country that requires a written contract for household employees.
A nanny contract, which can be used for any type of household employment, is a detailed outline of the work engagement. It establishes a clear understanding between you, as the employer, and your nanny or household worker, regarding their duties and responsibilities and helps reduce the likelihood of issues and misunderstandings during their employment. A nanny contract will also set the tone of your working relationship with open and clear communications.
The contract mandate for Chicago household employers says the work agreement must include the wage and the work schedule agreed upon by the family and their household employee. Work schedule is defined as an employee’s shifts, including specific start and end times for each shift during a calendar week. This new mandate aims to ensure accountability, transparency, and predictability for domestic workers so they can plan for themselves and their families.
Any employer who does not provide the written contract can be subjected to a fine of $500, with each violation constituting a separate offense.
A household employee includes any person whose primary duties include housekeeping, nanny services, caregiving, personal care, or home health services.
“I grew up watching my mother work hard, day in and day out, as a home healthcare aide, so that others could live their lives. That’s why I know domestic workers are the backbone of this city and deserve to be protected. With this mandate, we will continue to deliver these protections by making Chicago the largest city in the country that requires a written contract for domestic and household employees.” – Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot
The terms of the work agreement should be mutually agreeable and the contract reviewed and signed in person by the worker, the employer, and a witness. The contract can be printed or be provided in a printable communication in physical or electronic format, such as an e-mail. Contracts should be reviewed annually and when there is a change to the job description or scope of work (e.g., the birth of another child, additional household chores/tasks).
In 2021, the city’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) and The Chicago Foundation for Women made a $100,000 investment to Arise Chicago to support outreach and education efforts to household employees, ensuring information about these labor protections is widely disseminated.
There are more than 56,000 care workers in the Chicagoland area who are predominantly women of color and immigrants. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of home health and personal care aides is projected to grow 33 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.
To bring awareness and action, the Your Home is Someone’s Workplace campaign was launched to elevate care workers as working professionals deserving of better working conditions, dignity, and respect. Through the Your Home is Someone’s Workplace campaign, employers and care workers can find information, resources, and guidelines on creating safe workplaces.
Household workers and employers can visit Chi.gov/Care for more information on worker protection and rights.
GTM can help
Questions about complying with labor laws around household employment? GTM Payroll Services can help. We have PHR-certified human resources advisors who can help explain the law and your responsibilities and obligations. Call (800) 929-9213 to learn more about the services can we offer families with household help.