Contracts Are Now A Must for Domestic Workers in Chicago

The new year has brought with it a new law impacting all those in Chicago who employ domestic workers.

Effective January 1, anyone who engages a housekeeper, nanny, caregiver or home health service provider in the Windy City must provide that worker with a written contract (in their primary language) that spells out the wage and work schedule agreed upon by the employer and the individual under their employ. Notably, such an agreement is mandated whether the domestic worker is considered to be an employee or independent contractor.

The reasoning behind the new requirement is to create a fair and equitable workplace and ensure accountability, transparency and predictability for domestic workers so they can plan for themselves and their families. According to Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP), an environment of collaboration and dialogue should be created to ensure that the terms of the work agreement are mutually agreeable.

The following contract formalities apply:

  • The document should be reviewed and signed in person by the domestic worker, the employer and a witness;
  • The agreement can be printed or be provided in a printable communication in physical or electronic format, such as an e-mail; and
  • Contracts should be reviewed annually and when there is a change to the job description or scope of work.

Note that sample agreements can be found here.

For purposes of reference, all Chicago worker protections are enforced by the BACP Office of Labor Standards (OLS), which is dedicated to promoting and enforcing the city’s labor laws, including Minimum Wage, Paid Sick Leave, Fair Workweek, and Wage Theft Ordinance.

Employers and their domestic workers can learn about relevant protections and employee rights by visiting Of course, the employment law specialists at Michelman & Robinson, LLP are always available to answer your questions as well.

This blog post is not offered, and should not be relied on, as legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice in specific situations.