According to the survey, more than half of workers were unable to pay their rent or mortgages for six consecutive months.

Por Alma Sacasa
Octubre 28, 2020

On Tuesday,  a new survey by the National Domestic Workers Alliance revealed that more than 20,000 Spanish-speaking domestic workers have reported rapid and sustained loss of jobs and income because of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the survey, more than half of the workers have been unable to pay their rent or mortgages for six consecutive months. When asked if they felt confident that they would be able to afford food for the next two weeks, 64 percent of those surveyed said, "I don't know." It was also revealed that by late March, over 90 percent of domestic workers had lost their jobs because of the coronavirus. While some workers have started to recover as certain places reopen, 36 percent of the workers surveyed said they still do not have jobs.

As a result, many workers have been battling depression. "It has affected me and impacted me in many ways, economically and emotionally," said Rufina Rodríguez, who cleaned houses in Philadelphia until March. "These past six months have been hard."

The survey also found that less than a third of domestic workers received the $1,200 stimulus check. Rodríguez and her family, for example, did not qualify for the check because of their immigration status. "We did what we could to pay our expenses, but on top of this I was also concerned for my son's safety, and I was afraid to send him to school," she said. "My family, for example, does not qualify for the government stimulus check, because we are a mixed immigration status family. So we did not get any of the help that many other families had during this difficult time."

According to NDWA's survey, more than 85 percent of the Spanish-speaking domestic workers did not apply for unemployment because they didn't think that they would qualify. Only 14 percent of them applied for aid, and of those, 57 percent did not receive unemployment benefits even after applying.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden says he will immediately start working on a plan for COVID-19 relief if elected, while the Trump administration published a report on Tuesday listing one of their first-term accomplishments as "ending the COVID-19 pandemic."

"As we head into the most important election in generations, this reality is a huge part of what’s at stake," NDWA executive director Ai-jen Poo said. "Domestic workers' lives and livelihoods are on the line and they will be heard as they mobilize to vote this year. And you should all remember them and the human cost of this pandemic to their families and communities as we all plan to vote this year."