NEW YORK STATE DOMESTIC WORKERS BILL OF RIGHTS

          New York State Governor David Paterson signed the “Domestic Workers Bill of Rights” in late August, 2010.  The law took effect on November 29, 2010.

         Under the law, a protected domestic worker is defined as a “person employed in a home or residence for the purpose of caring for a child, serving as a companion for a sick, convalescing or elderly person, housekeeping, or for any other domestic service purpose”.  Excluded form the definition are (1) persons who work on a casual basis; (2) persons who provide companionship serviced and are employed by someone other than the family or household for which the services are provided; and (3) relatives by blood, marriage or adoption of the employer of or the person for whom the worker is providing services under a program funded by a federal, state or local government. 

          Among other things, the law provides the following: 

  • the right to overtime pay at time-and-half after forty (40) hours of work in a week, or forty-four (44) hours for workers who reside in the employer’s home;  
  •  one day of rest every seven days, or overtime pay if it is waived; 
  •  three pays days of rest annually after one year of work;  
  • the removal of the domestic workers’ exemption form the New York State Human Rights Law, and the creation of a special cause of action for domestic workers who suffer sexual or racial harassment; and 
  • the extension of statutory disability benefits to domestic workers, to the same degree as other workers.

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