Industry Strategies

Violations of core worker protections are growing in low-wage industries across our economy, ranging from home health care and restaurants to domestic work and day labor.  But the types of violations involved vary depending on the industry's economics, workforce, and employment structure.

As a result, NELP often designs industry-specific strategies to address workplace violations.  We partner with immigrant worker centers and unions to develop targeted solutions to ensure that workers in these critical front-line jobs are paid properly and treated fairly.

NELP is currently targeting four low-wage industries:

  • Domestic Work: Many workers in private households, including domestic workers and home health care workers, are exempted from basic workplace protections such as minimum wage and overtime rules.  NELP works to promote new state protections for these workers who fall through the cracks in federal rules, and to enforce existing state and federal laws when they are violated.

  • Home Health Care and Child Care Workers: Some employers illegally misclassify household workers as "independent contractors" in an attempt to evade their legal obligations to their employees.  In several states, NELP has partnered with unions and community groups to enforce workplace standards regardless of an employer's misuse of the "independent contractor" label.  We have also closed archaic loopholes that exclude home care workers from federal minimum wage and overtime protections.

  • Day Labor: Day laborers experience some of the highest rates of workplace violations in the country, and they encounter substantial barriers to enforcing the laws in place to protect them.  NELP has teamed up with worker centers and legislators around the country to respond to this problem by designing model day labor protection legislation and promoting its passage.

  • Restaurants and Food Service: The restaurant industry is notoriously difficult to monitor, even as minimum wage and overtime violations become more common.  In response, NELP works with community groups and worker centers to raise labor standards for restaurant workers - including those who earn tips - and helps design state and local policies to improve the enforcement of workplace protections.

See also our work in the area of Industry Studies and Other Labor Market Research and Research on the Growth of Unregulated Work.

For more information on our work in this area, please contact Cathy Ruckelshaus,, Rebecca Smith,

Other key resources:


Direct Care Alliance

Domestic Workers United

National Day Labor Organizing Network

Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute

Restaurant Opportunities Centers United

Service Employees International Union