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Domestic workers have special protections in New York

People who work in the household help industry often aren't protected by mainstream laws, but those who work in New York have special protections. In 2010, the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights was enacted. This provides specific information about various aspects of employment in this industry.

In order to understand exactly what protections are possible, you first have to know what is considered a domestic worker. Generally, the term refers to people who work for a household. This includes:

  • Babysitters
  • Personal caregivers
  • Nannies
  • Housekeepers

It may also include others who regularly work at the home, such as gardeners or landscapers, but only if they are a regular worker there. It doesn't include people who are there for only a one-time job or those who are there only once per month.

Protections for workers

The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights makes it clear that a legal work day is eight hours. It also sets standards for overtime pay. For workers who live in the home, 44 hours per week is the limit. For workers who don't live in the home, 40 hours is the limit. Once the applicable limit is surpassed, the worker is entitled to overtime pay.

Workers are also entitled to one day of rest, which is considered a full 24 hours, when they work seven days. If the worker doesn't take that day off, they are entitled to overtime pay. The bill also encourages them to try to use their day of rest on the day they choose to attend worship services if they do this.

There is also a requirement for paid time off. Each year, the worker gets three paid days off, which much be paid at the regular pay rate for the worker. The requirement begins when the person has worked for the employer for one full year.

Workers must have disability insurance provided by their employers. They also can't be subjected to sexual harassment or discrimination in any form.

Workers can have problems

There are likely going to be instances in which employers try to skirt around these regulations. When domestic workers have problems with an employer who won't follow these laws, they might be able to take legal action. It is important for all domestic workers to understand their rights. Even if you are an undocumented worker, you should still explore your rights in these matters so you know what actions to take.

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