My generation associates the regulation of domestic workers with Zoe Baird and “nannygate.” In 1993, newly elected President Bill Clinton submitted Baird’s name to the Senate as his choice for Attorney General. She would have been the first woman to hold the position. Instead, the nomination was withdrawn because she and her then-husband, Yale Law Professor Paul Gewirtz, had managed their high profile careers and family life by hiring an undocumented couple to help them and had not paid their social security taxes.
Are we any farther along today? Sheila Bapat’s book, Part of the Family? Nannies, Housekeepers, Caregivers and the Battle for Domestic Workers’ Rights, suggests that the answer may be yes and no.