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.