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Office of Consumer Protection

Domestic Workers

 

Council and community members

The Domestic Workers Law was the result  of a three year campaign by domestic workers and advocacy groups to help improve the working conditions for domestic  workers.  The law requires employers of  certain domestic workers to negotiate and  offer a written contract that discloses specific information regarding job conditions  and benefits.  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.  Council members  George Leventhal and Marc Elrich were the primary sponsors of this bill which was passed unanimously by the Council and signed by 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.

Montgomery County's Office of Consumer Protection enforces the   Domestic Workers Law .  Our 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 she or he:

  • works primarily in a residence located in Montgomery County
  • works at least 20 hours per week for at least a 30 day period
  • performs primarily childcare, housekeeping, cooking, cleaning or laundry-type work
  • works as a companion to a sick, convalescing, disabled, or elderly individual
  • 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.
​ ​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
MODELE CONTRAT (French)
CONTRATO MODELO (Spanish)

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The law requires employers to present a written contract to domestic workers and offer to negotiate employment terms.  An employee can agree to work without a contract  only if a disclosure statement is signed by the employee.  It does not require minimums in terms of payment (except that current wage laws must be obeyed), benefits, or time off.  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

DISCLOSURE STATEMENT

DECLARATION (French)

ACLARACION LEGAL (Spanish)


To view an Adobe PDF file, you will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader to open the file. You can obtain one for FREE from Adobe Systems Incorporated.  Download Acrobat Reader


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 in the County receive the legal protections they are entitled to under State law, as well as the right to a written employment contract governing the terms and conditions of employment.

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.   
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  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.  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   

  2. 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.
     

  3. 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 or visiting the office at 100 Maryland Avenue, #330, Rockville, MD 20850.
     

  4. 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.
     

  5. How do I file a complaint? 
    To file a complaint with the Office of Consumer Protection, please download our complaint form, complete it and mail the complaint form and copies of all related
    documentation (such as invoices, receipts or correspondence) to:
    Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection
    100 Maryland Ave., Suite 330
    Rockville, MD 20850
    Attn: New Complaint Department
    Complaint Form Complaint Form (Spanish)
CASA of 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: 410.767.8600Sexual 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
Montgomery County Dept. of Housing
and Community Affairs
100 Maryland Ave., 4th Floor
Rockville, MD 20850
T: 240.777.3600

Housing/Living Accomodations
Montgomery County Office of Human Rights
110 N. Washington St., #200
Rockville, MD 20850
T: 240.777.8450
TTY: 240.777.8480

Sexual harassment, discrimination
Montgomery County’s Living Wage Law
The County’s living wage law became effective on July 1, 2003 to ensure that workers who provide services on the public’s behalf are paid above the poverty level.  The current wage requirements rate, effective July 1, 2014, is $14.15 per hour.  The law applies to companies providing services to the county and is used here only as a point of reference.
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
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