Coronavirus cancellations cost undocumented housekeepers

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A cleaning lady washing the windows. Credit: Pixabay.

As the coronavirus pandemic engulfs the country, many families sheltering in place do not need their housekeepers or nannies at the moment. Many of these workers are Latina women. 

“The problem is that many of these domestic helpers are undocumented, so they cannot file for unemployment,” says New York Times reporter Miriam Jordan, who’s been speaking with housekeepers in Los Angeles

One of those housekeepers is Maria Zamorano.

“She has a pretty stable roster of families that she serves in the Pasadena area, and one after another, they began to cancel on her,” says Jordan. “Maria is obviously very concerned that her income has plummeted from about $800 a week to $100 a week so far. When I spoke with her, just one of her employers had committed to continue paying her despite not wanting her to show up.”

Not everyone is dumping the help. Jordan wrote about one LA mother, Maya Brenner, who asked her housekeeper to stay on the job after she agreed to live in the guesthouse during the ‘stay at home’ order. She asked her nanny to limit her travel to Brenner’s house and her own apartment, except for grocery store trips.

Undocumented workers may also be ineligible for the multi-trillion dollar federal aid package, although advocacy groups are working with members of Congress to provide relief for non-citizens who can prove steady employment.




Kathryn Barnes