In Response to Coronavirus, National Domestic Workers Alliance Launches Care Fund to Raise $4 Million for Domestic Workers

The National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) is launching the Coronavirus Care Fund: an emergency relief fund for domestic workers facing hardship as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The goal of the fund is to raise $4 million to support 10,000 workers. People can donate here starting at 10:30 am ET on Monday, March 16th.

Nurachayatun Siti, a 35-year-old Indonesian domestic worker, prepares food in her employer’s kitchen in Singapore. Eight-two percent of domestic workers lack paid sick days, making them more likely to go to work sick or losing their financial stability if they don’t.  (UN Women / Creative Commons)

Domestic workers are on the frontlines of the coronavirus outbreak, caring for homes and families, including those most at risk to the virus.  Their job is to provide care for people in need.

Yet—like the 40 percent of Americans that can’t afford a $400 emergency—domestic workers are more likely to be working without benefits, and have no savings to stock up on groceries, buy cleaning supplies or take time off from work. 

The National Domestic Workers Alliance executive director Ai-jen Poo released the following statement in response to the coronavirus and the need for a safety net for in-home workers during this trying time:

“Domestic workers are being forced to navigate this crisis alone and without a safety net. Donations to the Coronavirus Care Fund will provide emergency assistance to nannies, house cleaners and home care workers who need help right now, giving them the stability they need to stay home and be a part of the solution to this crisis.

“Many nannies, who take care of our children, are still expected to show up to work or risk being fired without notice. House cleaners, who are cleaning and disinfecting our homes, are struggling to get protective supplies, and seeing a drastic increase in last-minute cancelations and some have already seen their income cut in half. Meanwhile, home care workers are working round the clock to care for some of the people most vulnerable to coronavirus, older people and people with chronic illnesses. 

“Low-wage workers are hit the hardest by any national crisis, including this pandemic. Poverty will be a decisive factor in how this virus will spread in the months to come. Staying home from work is an impossible choice for far too many Americans who can barely make ends meet.

“A safety net is a necessity. That’s why we developed Alia in 2018, the first ever online platform that helps domestic workers get benefits like paid time off and insurance. Alia will administer the Fund to domestic workers in need across the country. 

“Care is a shared responsibility. Our own health depends on the health of the person next to us, and the person next to them. Times like these remind us how connected we all are. We believe people will appreciate the opportunity to show care for the people who care for us.”

Fundraising will start on Monday, March 16 at 10:30 a.m. ET with a goal of raising $4 million to support domestic workers in need during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Funds will be administered to domestic workers via Alia, the online platform originally designed for domestic workers to accrue paid time off.  

NDWA anticipates the funds will provide urgently needed support to workers to stay home, care for themselves or loved ones if they are sick, gain access to safe cleaning supplies or meet other needs that enable them to protect themselves and help slow the spread of the virus.

Eight-two percent of domestic workers lack paid sick days, making them more likely to go to work sick or losing their financial stability if they don’t. According to the Home Economics Report, 25 percent of domestic workers fired from their jobs indicate their firing was due to their request to take time off, 22 percent were fired for actually taking time off and 20 percent were discharged for missing work to take care of themselves or a family member.

The coronavirus pandemic and the response by federal, state and local authorities is fast-moving.

During this time, Ms. is keeping a focus on aspects of the crisis—especially as it impacts women and their families—often not reported by mainstream media.

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National Domestic Workers Alliance is the leading voice for dignity and fairness for millions of domestic workers in the United States. Founded in 2007, NDWA is now powered by over 60 affiliate organizations and local chapters and by a growing membership base of nannies, house cleaners and care workers in over 20 states.