Friday, November 20, 2020
Emily Satterthwaite (Toronto) presents Taxing Domestic Workers: Trading a Safety Net for a Living Wage? (with Ariel Jurow Kleinman (San Diego)) virtually today at Florida as part of its Tax Colloquium Series:
Paid domestic workers play a central and often intimate role in the day-to-day lives of many North Americans, including the affluent but also other groups. The livelihoods and health of, for example, the elderly, persons with serious disabilities, and women who work outside the home (and their children) may depend on the labor of one or more paid domestic workers. Yet domestic workers and their hirers tend to rely on very different workplace protections and social insurance guarantees. Our project seeks to better understand the role that tax law plays in this troubling status quo by surveying domestic workers about their tax-related experiences. The domestic sector rightly has been called “the original gig economy” because of its structural similarities with higher-technology sectors like ride-sharing. However, existing doctrinal and policy-oriented tax scholarship, including that which attends to the significant tax policy challenges presented by platform service providers and the role of contract work, has largely overlooked the domestic sector.
To date, empirical scholarship on the gig economy in the social sciences has focused on the experiences of more visible populations of workers. Our project will gather the perspectives of a subset of this population that labors, by definition, behind closed doors.