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New Law Protects Nannies

April 16, 2011
Plain English Version

New York State enacted recently the first Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights in the nation. The law protects domestic workers, including nannies, housekeepers and caregivers for the elderly.

It calls for:

  • Temporary disability benefits for full-time home workers
  • Protection from workplace sexual harassment and discrimination.
  • A legal workday of eight hours
  • Time-and-a-half pay for overtime work
  • At least three vacation days a year
  • Work week of 40 hours, or 44 for live-in workers

Supporters of the law hope it will make the relationship between workers and employers clear.

Many domestic workers are illegal immigrants and may be afraid to speak up. Many employers pay workers under the table and may not want to negotiate new terms that could cost more.

The State Labor Department is telling foreign consulates and community groups about the law. Domestic Workers United is an advocacy group working to spread the word about the law.

Ignorance of the law is widespread. The biggest challenge is to inform workers and employers that there is a law. The next task is making clear how to file complaints.

The New York Times


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