Many of their employers look at them with suspicion because they fear they will take the disease home

Lydia Barrón is dedicated to cleaning houses, but since the coronavirus epidemic skyrocketed, her clients look at her with suspicion. "So far they have not stopped calling me, but I am very alarmed that this will get worse, and ask me not to go anymore," he says.

Domestic workers dedicated to cleaning houses and caring for children and the sick cannot afford to work from home as health authorities have recommended to prevent the spread of coronaviru.s. They have to go to the workplace and receive a paid per day worked, but in the face of the pandemic, they fear that their clients prefer to do without their services for fear of contagion.

“My clients have started asking me before going to their houses, that if I feel good, that if I am not ill. I tell them that I am fine, and I also ask if anyone in their family is not sick. If the coronavirus hits me, I'm not going to risk other people, but I also don't want them to infect me, ”says Lydia.

Cleaning worker María Hernández campaigned in Sacramento along with other Chirla-affiliated domestic workers to lobby for Governor Jerry Brown to pass a law guaranteeing overtime pay for those who work in cleaning, childcare, the elderly and sick in the houses. (Araceli Martínez / La Opinion).
Cleaning workers are among the most affected in their income as a result of the coronavirus. (Araceli Martínez / La Opinion).

The news that the coronavirus could be controlled until the summer worries Lydia.

"I don't want my clients to cut my work days. I am the main provider of my home, where my daughter and I live. Without work, how am I going to pay my bills, ”he asked.

As a consequence of the coronavirus and the closing of schools, Alejandra Evangelista was suspended from work for the following two weeks.

“I work at a teacher's house. I look after your children from Monday to Friday; and I help him in the cleaning. They told me that it was not for the rest of the month, because the mother will be at home, "he says.

Since they pay him the month in advance, his employer asked him to keep his salary already paid. “I asked if he wanted the money back for the weeks that he didn't go to work, and he said no. It was a relief".

Alejandra comments that in the face of the current health crisis, and at a time when it is advisable to take extreme measures to clean, many would think that their services are more necessary than ever, but this is not the case.

"I know we must be careful. We only ask that they give us joke to work ”, says Alejandra.

Because of the coronavirus, domestic workers have their last minute jobs canceled. (EFE)

Domestic workers are at the forefront of the coronavirus epidemic, caring for homes and families, including those at highest risk of contracting the virus. They generally work without benefits, have no savings to buy food, cleaning products, or take time off from work.

As a result of this pandemic, the National Alliance of Domestic Workers launched an emergency fund. The goal is to raise $ 4 million to support 10,000 workers.

“They are forced to navigate this crisis alone and without a support network. Donations to this coronavirus care fund will give emergency help to babysitters, cleaners and caregivers at home who need immediate support so they can stay home, "says Ai-Jen Poo, director of the National Alliance of Domestic Workers .

Many babysitters and housekeeping workers are seeing a dramatic increase in last-minute cancellations, and some have already seen their earnings cut in half.

Jen Poo argues that low-income workers are hit hardest by any national crisis, including this pandemic. "Poverty will be a decisive factor in how the virus spreads in the coming months. Staying at home is an impossible option for many hard-working Americans who take out expenses at home. ”

They create an emergency fund to help domestic workers affected by the coronavirus. (José Rivera / EDLP)

The fundraising campaign started on March 16. It is managed by the Alia online platform, originally designed for domestic workers to write down the extra time they work.

Palak Shah, director of Social Innovations for the National Alliance for Domestic Workers, says the emergency assistance will help Support $ 400 to everyone who needs it. "These numbers come from studies that indicate that 40% of Americans cannot have a $ 400 emergency fund," he says.

Domestic workers who stay home because they are sick, or need to care for a sick family member, or those who lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic, and are in financial need, can apply for these resources. "Priority will be given to those who are members of the National Alliance of Domestic Workers," she says.

According to a report by Home Economics, 25% of domestic workers are fired from their jobs when they request free time; 22% when they decide to take it; and 20% for missing work when they or a family member are sick.


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