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Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights

May 31, 2006

*edited February 2007: the document below is a draft and is currently being edited*

Domestic workers are a crucial part of this state’s economy, yet current state labor law does not protect them the way it does other workers. Domestic workers often labor under harsh, exploitative conditions, and they are isolated in their workplaces. The bill proposed by Domestic Workers United addresses the longstanding, unfair exclusion of domestic workers from labor protections, and the unique conditions and demands of the industry in which they work, by amending the New York State Labor Law to ensure:

  • A living wage at $14/hr ($16/hr if the employer does not provide health benefits)
  • Overtime pay for every hour over 40hrs/week
  • Up to 12 weeks of family care and medical leave for birth or adoption of a child, serious illness of spouse, partner or child, or serious illness of the domestic worker herself.
  • At least one day off in each week
  • Designated paid holidays
  • Paid vacation leave
  • A minimum number of paid sick days and personal days
  • Advance notice of termination
  • Severance pay in accordance with number of years worked

The bill also:

  • Prohibits trafficking of domestic workers
  • Requires employers to maintain records of compensation
  • Eliminates language excluding domestic workers from the definition of “employee” under New York State Labor Law
  • Eliminates language excluding domestic workers from coverage of other New York State Labor Law and Human Rights law provisions

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