MacArthur Grant Goes Toward Home Care Worker Rights

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation recently awarded a prestigious $625,000 grant to a home care advocate who has championed the rights of domestic workers, including home health aides, a New York Times article reports. 

Ai-jen Poo, the director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, won the 2014 MacArthur “genius” grant last week for her work in the field. She plans to use it to endow a fellowship for domestic workers to do organizing and policy work. 

Poo is responsible for passing the first Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights in 2010, a state law that entitles domestic workers in New York to overtime pay, one day off per week and three days of paid leave per year, among other benefits. This bill also paved the way for similar laws in California, Hawaii and Massachusetts. 

Last year, Poo mobilized thousands of domestic workers to lobby the federal Department of Labor to include caregivers for older adults and disabled people in federal minimum wage and overtime protections.

“The foundation wanted to shine a national spotlight on Ms. Poo, who has dedicated her life to organizing domestic workers, marshaling their energy into a movement that has improved working conditions and created new labor standards for women who have long worked without the job protections that most of us take for granted,” the NY Times writes. 

Read the full New York Times story here.  

Written by Emily Study