Brazil's Domestic Servants Get Work Equality

A landmark reform means families may have to do their own laundry
Photograph by Ailton de Freitas/Agencia o Globo

Just after Easter, Brazil’s congress approved a constitutional amendment granting domestic servants an eight-hour workday, overtime pay, and other rights enjoyed by the rest of the workforce. For millions of maids, the law is a milestone comparable to Brazil’s 19th-century abolition of slavery. For the families that rely on low-cost domestic help, it means a budget squeeze that could force them to cook and clean for themselves. The law is spreading concern among middle- and upper-class families that the cost of employing a maid or nanny will spike again, after almost doubling since 2006.

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