Advice for employers of house cleaners
House cleaners do the work that makes other work possible by helping us keep our homes clean and comfortable. For some, housecleaning a luxury that frees us to do other things. And for others who may not have the ability to clean our own homes, housecleaners provide a critical life-supporting service.
House cleaning is not “low skill” work. If you’ve ever had your house cleaned by a housecleaner, you’ll realize why this is a profession that takes skill, attention to detail and endurance. Housecleaners work long hours, do difficult and sometimes dangerous work – such as using toxic cleaners or cleaning in high places such as outside windows.
Housecleaners deserve recognition and fair compensation. We must also change public policy to support the rights of house cleaners to workplaces that are healthy and safe and that are free of harassment, wage theft, and other rights violations.
Many ways to do right
- Give an annual bonus and annual pay raise
- Pay on-time and consistently (even for the weeks you go on vacation and don’t need the cleaner to come) as your employee depends on your pay
- Provide safety equipment and non-toxic cleaning supplies (or offer to pay for these)
- If non-toxic cleaning requires a longer shift, then pay for that extra time
Because house cleaners often work for many employers, they don’t usually receive the benefits such as paid sick days or holidays that other domestic workers who have just one employer might.
There is a new solution for this! Alia! Alia is a portable benefits program that allows housecleaners to pool monthly contributions from their employers of $5-20 that they can use toward the costs of a paid sick day, life insurance and other benefits. To help your employee sign up for Alia, visit the Alia site.
There are many ways to improve your employment practices that don’t cost money but are also important, like creating a clear written work agreement and having annual evaluations.
You can also augment a wage by giving an end-of-year bonus and signing up for Alia, a program that provides benefits such as sick time, disability insurance, accident/illness insurance and more. We encourage employers of housecleaners to review our Checklist and consider what you can do.