Domestic Workers

 

Council and community members

Montgomery County’s Domestic Worker Law was enacted to provide domestic workers and their employers a framework to help create an employment contract that address the rights and responsibilities of both parties.  The law requires the employers of certain domestic workers to negotiate and offer a written contract that discloses duties, obligations, and notifies workers of basic worker rights to which workers are entitled.  The Domestic Worker Law provides flexibility that permits employers and employees to arrive at a contract that is beneficial to both parties.  The law also prohibits retaliation against a domestic worker who requests a written contract, attempts to enforce the terms of a contract, or files a complaint or participates in an investigation of a complaint.  Then-Council members George Leventhal and  Marc Elrich were the primary sponsors of this bill which was passed unanimously by the Council and signed by then- County Executive Ike Leggett .

"This legislation was intended to level the playing field between domestic workers and their employers," states Eric Friedman, Director, OCP. "The model employment contract ensures that domestic workers and employers discuss their expectations in critical areas such as wages, job duties, work schedules and employment benefits.  By formalizing the relationship, each party should have a clear understanding of their responsibilities."  Montgomery County OCP enforces the law and publishes a model employment contract and a model disclosure statement that employers can use to comply with this law.  The contract and disclosure statement are available in English, French, and Spanish.

The Montgomery County Domestic Workers Law was enacted to ensure that employers and domestic workers had the tools necessary to engage in active, informed negotiations when entering into an employment agreement.  OCP's goal is to ensure that domestic workers receive the protections they are entitled to under State law and the right to a written employment contract.  

The Domestic Workers Law applies to a worker if they:

  • works primarily in a residence located in Montgomery County, MD; and
  • works at least 20 hours per week for at least a 30 day period; and
  • performs primarily childcare, housekeeping, cooking, cleaning or laundry-type work; or
  • works as a companion to a sick, convalescing, disabled, or elderly individual; or
  • has an employer that is an individual or an employment agency.

The law requires employers to present a written contract to domestic workers and offer to negotiate its terms.  It does not require minimums in terms of payment, benefits, or time off.  The contract must include certain terms, view our Contract tab for additional information. 

The law requires employers to present a written contract to the domestic worker and offer to negotiate its terms.  It does not require minimums in terms of payment, benefits, or time off other than those required by existing County, State, and Federal Laws.  The written contract must include certain key terms involving the work to be performed, payment of wages, available time off, living conditions, termination of the contract, and additional terms.  Visit our Model Contract webpage for a complete list and downloadable Model Contract.
If a domestic worker voluntarily chooses to not sign a written contract, then the employer and domestic worker must both sign a disclosure statement
​ ​An employer who violates this law is subject to a civil penalty of not more than $1,000.00 for each violation or the penalty for a Class A violation.  The Director of the Office of Consumer Protection may seek damages, restitution, or any other available legal or equitable relief when seeking to enforce Chapter 11.

Click here to read the  Domestic Workers Law.

 

Contract

MODEL CONTRACT (English)
MODELE CONTRAT (French)
CONTRATO MODELO  (Spanish)

The Domestic Workers Law requires employers to present a written contract to domestic workers and offer to negotiate employment terms.  A domestic worker can voluntarily agree to work without a contract  only if a disclosure statement is signed by the employer and worker. It does not require minimums in terms of payment benefits, or time off except for minimum requirements under applicable County, State and Federal laws.  The contract must include the terms listed below:

  • Work
    • Work Schedule (days/hours)
    • Duties
    • Whether an employer can require worker to perform additional duties
  • Payment
    • Salary
    • How often worker will be paid
    • Deductions
    • Overtime pay
  • Paid/Unpaid Time Off
    • Sick Leave
    • Vacation Time
    • Holidays
  • Living Conditions
    • Living accommodations to be provided
    • Deductions for food and lodging, if any
  • Termination of the Contract
    • Severance pay, if any
    • Notice required before termination of contract
  • Additional Terms
    • Length of the contract
    • Reimbursement for work related expenses
    • Notice of employment rights under Maryland law

A Disclosure Statement is required whenever a domestic worker voluntarily agrees to employment without a written contract.  The Office of Consumer Protection provides a sample Disclosure Statement in three (3) languages for employees who opt out of a written contract:

Should you have any questions, please contact us at (240) 777-3636 or consumer@montgomerycountymd.gov and ask for the Domestic Worker Liaison.


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the purpose of this law?
  2. Which domestic workers are covered by the law?
  3. Who is NOT considered a domestic worker?
  4. Who is responsible for providing the employment contract?
  5. What must an employer do?
  6. What must the contract include?
  7. Does an employer have to use the Model Contract?
  8. Who do I contact if my employer has not given me a written contract?
  9. What is the penalty for a violation of the law?
  10. How do I file a complaint?
  1. What is the purpose of this law?

Montgomery County wants to ensure that domestic workers and their employers have the tools to negotiate a fair and equitable agreement.  Additionally, the law serves to provide employers and domestic workers with notice as to the legal protections workers are entitled to under State law.

Back to Top

  1. Which domestic workers are covered by the law? 
    This law applies to domestic workers if they:
    • works primarily in a residence located in Montgomery County; and
    • works at least 20 hours per week for at least a 30 day period; and
    • performs primarily childcare, housekeeping, cooking, cleaning or laundry-type work; or
    • works as a companion to a sick, convalescing, disabled, or elderly individual; and
    • has an employer that is an individual or an employment agency.
Back to Top

  1. Who is NOT considered a domestic worker? 
    Domestic worker does NOT include:
    • A registered nurse (RN), licensed practical nurse (LPN), or certified nursing assistant (CNA) who is licensed or certified by the Maryland Board of Nursing;
    • A child, parent, spouse, or other member of the immediate family of the employer;
    • An au pair; or
    • An individual who primarily serves as a companion to a disabled or elderly individual who is unable to care for himself or herself, and who is not employed by an agency.
Back to Top

  1. Who is responsible for providing the employment contract?  The Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) will maintain a model employment contract and a model disclosure statement that an employer may use to comply with this law.  The model contract and model disclosure statement are published in English, French, and Spanish and will be maintained electronically on OCP's website.
Back to Top

  1. What must an employer do? 
    The law requires employers to negotiate with the domestic worker over the terms and conditions of employment and offer to sign a written contract specifying those terms and conditions of employment.  An employer of a domestic worker must obtain either a written employment contract signed by both the employer and the domestic worker or a disclosure statement signed by the domestic worker. 

    If the domestic worker is employed by an agency, the employment contract must be between the agency and the worker.   
Back to Top
  1. What must the contract include? 
    The new law requires employers to present a written contract to domestic workers and offer to negotiate its terms.  It does not require minimums in terms of payment, benefits, or time off other than those benefits required by existing County, State or Federal law.  The contract must include the following terms:
    • Work
      • Work Schedule (days/hours)
      • Duties
      • Whether an employer can require worker to perform additional duties
    • Payment
      • Salary
      • How often worker will be paid
      • Deductions
      • Overtime pay
    • Paid/Unpaid Time Off
      • Sick Leave
      • Vacation Time
      • Holidays
    • Living Conditions
      • Living accommodations to be provided
      • Deductions for food and lodging, if any
    • Termination of the Contract
      • Severance pay, if any
      • Notice required before termination of contract
    • Additional Terms
      • Length of the contract
      • Reimbursement for work related expenses
      • Notice of employment rights under Maryland law
Back to Top
  1. Does an employer have to use the Model Contract? 
    No, an employer is not required to use the Model Contract; however, employers must use a contract that contains all the required provisions under the law.
     
  1. Who do I contact if my employer has not given me a written contract? 
    If your employer has not given you a written contract AND you did not sign a disclosure statement, contact the Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection by calling 240.777.3636, emailing consumer@montgomerycountymd.gov or visiting the office at 100 Maryland Avenue, #3600, Rockville, MD 20850.
Back to Top
  1. What is the penalty for a violation of the law?  An employer who violates this law is subject to a civil penalty of not more than $1,000.00 for each violation or the penalty for a Class A violation.  The Director of the Office of Consumer Protection may seek damages, restitution, or any other available legal or equitable relief when seeking to enforce Chapter 11.
  1. How do I file a complaint? 
    To file a complaint with the Office of Consumer Protection, please use our online Complaint Form which can be translated into any language using the Google Translate button at the bottom of the page. 
Back to Top
Domestic Worker COVID-19 Resources  

Maryland Dept. of Labor, Licensing and Regulation
1500 North Calvert Street, #401
Baltimore, MD 21202
T: 410.230.6001
Contact Page
COVID-10 FAQ  Frequently asked questions about unemployment insurance benefits and COVID-19.

National Domestic Workers Alliance
New York, New York
T: 646.360.5806
Resources for Domestic Workers on the Coronavirus Pandemic  Resource hub providing information on topics including tips for domestic workers, information on accessing health care, and government response and relief programs. 

New York Times
620 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY 10018
What Should You Do About Your Babysitter During Coronavirus? This article provides some broad guidance on how to handle child care services during the COVID-19 emergency. 
General Domestic Worker Resources

Know Your Rights

OCP has created posters to summarize your rights.  Please download them for your use, or if you are an agency, please post them.  Agencies can contact our office for distribution of large posters.
Montgomery County’s Minimum Wage Law
As of July 1, 2020, Montgomery County’s minimum wage is $13.00 per hour (employers with 1-10 employees), $13.25 per hour (11 to 50 employees), and $14.00 (51 or more employees). The law is enforced through the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation .   View a fact sheet here:  Montgomery County Minimum Wage Rates.  
Montgomery County’s Living Wage Law
The current Wage Requirements Law rate is $15.25 through June 30, 2021.  The law applies to companies providing services to the county and is used here only as a point of reference. 
Montgomery County Dept. of Housing and Community Affairs
1401 Rockville Pike
Fourth Floor
Rockville, MD 20852
T: 240.777.0311

Housing/Living Accomodations
Montgomery County Office of Human Rights
21 Maryland Avenue, Suite 330
Rockville, MD 20850
T: 240.777.8450
TTY: 240.777.8480

Earned Sick and Safe Leave Law , sexual harassment, discrimination
CASA de Maryland 
734 University Blvd. East
Silver Spring, MD 20903
T: 301.431.4185

Wage issues; immigration issues related to employment, human trafficking, employment, health and education programs; Women Seeking Justice (association of domestic workers seeking to improve the rights of domestic workers living in Montgomery County)

Commission for Women 
Counseling and Career Center
401 N. Washington St., #100
Rockville, MD 20850
T: 240.777.8300
TTY: 301.279.1034

Counseling, support groups, and educational programs for women. 

Brochure: ENGLISHESPAÑOL,   FRANÇAIS

Comptroller of Maryland 
T: 800.MD-TAXES (800.638.2937)

Internal Revenue Service 
T: 800.829.1040

Maryland Commission on Civil Rights 
6 St. Paul St., 9th Fl.
Baltimore, MD 21202
T: 410.767.8600

Sexual harassment, discrimination

Maryland Dept. of Labor, Licensing and Regulation
1500 North Calvert Street, #401
Baltimore, MD 21202
T: 410.230.6001

Unemployment Insurance (T: 800.827.4839)  
Employment Laws (T: 410.767.2357)
Maryland Legal Aid Bureau
14015 New Hampshire Ave.
Silver Spring, MD 20904
T: 301.879.8752

Wage Claims
Maryland Worker's Compensation Commission 
10 East Baltimore St.
Baltimore, MD 21202
T: 410.864.5100

Worker's Compensation: Workers' Compensation Benefits,   MD Workers Compensation FAQs
US Dept. of Labor 
Wage and Hour Division
103 S. Gay St., #207
Baltimore, MD 21202
T: 866.487.9243

Federal Minimum Wage and Overtime Law Enforcement;
Family Medical Leave Act
US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission 
10 S. Howard St., 3rd Fl.
Baltimore, MD 21202
T: 800.669.4000 or 410.962.3932