Earlier this year, Airbnb’s CEO Brian Chesky announced our Economic Empowerment Agenda, a series of actions we are taking as a company to support our community of hosts, guests, and more, and to help generate new economic opportunities for all. Through our platform, we will support 1.3 million jobs this year alone– and Airbnb is more committed than ever to making sure that those jobs are good jobs that support families and local economies.
Today, we’re taking another significant step forward in these efforts– we’re thrilled to announce that we are launching the Living Wage Pledge, which hosts can take to commit to paying the people who clean their listing a living wage, or the minimum income necessary for individuals to meet their basic needs.
Labor experts, including the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), recommend a living wage of at least $25 an hour for individuals who are self-employed, and minimum of $15 an hour for people who clean for companies. We admire their groundbreaking work to ensure respect and dignity for cleaners, who are one of the invisible engines that make our community what it is, and have benefitted from their guidance in crafting our pledge.
NDWA Director Ai-jen Poo says, “For too long, the contributions of cleaners and others who work in our homes have been invisible and undervalued. We are grateful to be working with Airbnb to put cleaners front and center. Establishing and promoting a fair wage for cleaners, holds the promise that we will begin to culturally and economically recognize this work for its true value. We’ve heard again and again from our members that they expect us to innovate in our tireless effort to make improvements in their lives and the lives of their families. And so, we are answering their call. We’re excited to welcome the cleaners in the Airbnb community into our movement and invite them to join our organization.”
As any host can tell you, an important part of being successful is ensuring that guests arrive to a clean, comfortable home. While many hosts clean their homes themselves, many also need help with this. The Living Wage Pledge is a way to commit to paying and treating these people fairly. Hosts can now designate on their listing that the people who clean their listings are paid a living wage — and a badge will appear on their listing so potential guests know they’ve taken action to support the local economy and to make the Airbnb community a fair place to work.
Brian has spoken before about how, in this time of growing economic inequality, Airbnb is unique in that we are actively democratizing capitalism– that is to say we’re creating opportunities, growing markets, and empowering people to generate income utilizing an asset they already have, their home– and the Living Wage Pledge will help to expand that opportunity. Typically one of the largest expenses for any ordinary person, you can use your home to generate income to pay for things such as food, rent, education, and more. In the U.S., a host earns around $6,100 per year sharing their space. 62 percent of U.S. hosts tell us that sharing their homes has enabled them to afford to stay in their homes, and a staggering 12 percent say it’s helped save their homes from eviction or foreclosure. It’s incredible to see how Airbnb provides people the opportunities they need to generate real money for families, right now– and we see the Living Wage Pledge as an extension of that.
So what does this mean for me?
If you’re a host in the U.S., you will receive an email inviting you to take the Living Wage Pledge, what it means, and how to take part in it. You can take the pledge and confirm that the cleaners who clean your listing are paid a living wage. By confirming this, a badge will appear on your listing page, and guests looking for a place to stay will be able to see that you’ve taken the pledge.
If you’re a guest, you will be able to see the Living Wage Pledge badge on any listing participating as you search for your next destination.
If you are cleaning homes for Airbnb hosts, we want to you to know that you are a valued member of our community. We want you to be paid fairly, and to know that we value your work. You are an essential part of what makes the Airbnb community work.
As Silvia González, who is self-employed and has been cleaning homes for more than a decade, including homes on Airbnb, says “I’ve cleaned homes for more than 11 years. It means a lot to me to be recognized in the Airbnb community for the important work that I do. In Seattle, the cost of living keeps going up while my wages are staying the same. The work I do helps other people be successful–$25 per hour for me would mean I can pay tuition for my child who heads off to college soon. I’ve worked for too little for far too long. Finally someone recognizes my work and its value for all of us.”
The Living Wage Pledge is a great step forward and we’re proud of our work on our Economic Empowerment Agenda– empowering people is a huge part of what Airbnb is as a company. We want everyone in our community to access opportunity and earn the living wage they deserve. We’re also committing that by 2020, all of the contractors and vendors working with Airbnb who provide a substantial amount of work to the company will be paid at least $15 an hour as well. And, this is just the beginning. We’re continuing to identify and develop and work with partners on how to make even more economic empowerment opportunities available to our community. We’ll be sure to keep you in the loop on more announcements– stay tuned!
Chris Lehane is Airbnb’s Head of Global Policy And Communications