On July 1, 2010, the New York State Senate passed, by a 35-26 vote, the so-called Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, Bill S2311E. On the same date, the New York State Assembly passed, by a 90-38 tally, a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, Bill A01470B, paralleling the State Senate’s version. New York State Governor David A. Paterson has pledged to sign the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights (the “Bill”) into law.
The Bill will grant significant rights and safeguards to New York State’s domestic workers, who number about 200,000 in the New York City area alone. So, too, the Bill will impose substantial new requirements on families or individuals who employ, in their homes, nannies, housekeepers, or companions to the sick or the elderly.
Among other rights and protections which the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights will grant to New York’s domestic workers are that the Bill:
- Will make it a violation of the New York State Human Rights Law for any person who employs a domestic worker to subject her or him to quid pro quo sexual harassment or to hostile work environment sexual, racial, religious, or national origin-based harassment;
- Will define a domestic worker’s day of work as eight hours;
- Will prohibit any person who employs a domestic worker from requiring her or him to work in excess of 40 hours in a week, or 44 hours in a week for a domestic worker who lives in the home of her or his employer, unless the worker is paid for overtime work at not less than one and one-half times her or his normal wage rate;
- Will require that every domestic worker receive at least 24 consecutive hours of rest in each calendar week, unless the worker freely agrees to work on that day of rest and is compensated at the overtime rate for doing so;
- Will provide that after one year of work for the same person or persons, a domestic worker will be entitled to three days of paid vacation in each calendar year;
- Will require every person who employs a domestic worker to pay her or him not less than New York State’s minimum wage, which is presently $7.15 per hour; and
- Will compel every person who employs a domestic worker to provide her or him with disability benefits coverage, even if the domestic worker is employed for less than 40 hours per week.
The Bill states that it will go into effect 90 days after the Governor signs it into law.
If your company or household needs assistance or guidance on a labor or employment law issue and your company or household is located in the New York City area, call the Law Offices of David S. Rich, LLC at (212) 209-3972.