New app offers PTO support for domestic workers

January 3, 2019
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Maria Del Carmen Diaz, following a 20-year long career of cleaning Philadelphia homes, will soon be able to take her first paid day off.

Diaz, a mother of three in her 50s who left her home and her telecom job near the Gulf of Mexico for the United States in 1996, described it as a welcome benefit in a job that does not have many. No healthcare, no retirement fund, no contracts — which means that if a client pays her weeks late or cancels last-minute, which they do, she said, she has no recourse.

But paid time off is a step in the right direction, Diaz said in Spanish through an interpreter. And she’s able to get it because of a new app from the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), called Alia.

Billed as the first “portable benefits” app of its kind — meaning benefits are tied to the worker, not the employer — Alia, which has been in beta testing for most of 2018 but launched to the public in December, allows house cleaners to accrue paid sick days or other kinds of paid time off by collecting a small fee-per-job from clients. The app suggests a $5 contribution per cleaning, with a minimum of $5 a month. Cleaners have to accrue $120 in order to receive the benefit, which comes in the form of a prepaid VISA card. (Alia also allows cleaners to accrue disability, life, and accident insurance, but that feature is currently only live in California and New York.)

Read more here.

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January 3, 2019

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