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.