Legislature designates a special day for domestic workers

Lawmakers officially designated the last Saturday in March as the day for domestic workers. They took the action Monday afternoon when they passed a bill doing that for the second and final time.

Of the 48 lawmakers present, 48 voted for the measure in an unusual show of non-partisan unity.

The bill empowers the executive branch to create a celebration to raise the consciousness of society to the importance and economic value of this work.

The bulk of domestic employees are women. They are cooks, housekeepers, nannies and maids. The bill stops
short of giving these workers the day off, although it does call for a day of reflection on the importance of the work.

Officially the day will be called Día Nacional de las Personas Trabajadoras Domésticas.

Despite the universal support of the bill and the fact that it costs no money, lawmakers still took more than three years to pass it. The measure was proposed Nov. 11, 2008. The first approval came Oct. 31.

Lawmakers estimated that there are about 120,000 persons doing this type of labor. Some workers get up early and return home late after serving the needs of the families that employ them, lawmakers said in a summary of the bill. Some work up to 16 hours a day, the summary said.

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