NY’S Domestic Worker Bill

New York’s landmark Domestic Workers Protection Bill was signed into law by NY  Governor David A. Paterson  on 8/31/10. The first of its type in the nation, the bill extends protection to domestic workers who in the past were excluded from many of the rights granted to other employees.

Under the bill, S2311E, domestic workers are entitled to:

1) one day of rest every calendar week, waivable by the worker with pay for that day at the overtime rate of 1.5. The day of rest will, whenever possible, coincide with the traditional day of religious worship;

2) overtime pay after 40 hours of work per week (44 hours for live-in domestic workers);

3) after 1 year of work with the same employer, 3 days of rest per year at the regular rate of compensation;

4) it will be an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer to:

(a) engage in unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature to a domestic worker when:

(i) submission to such conduct is made a term or condition of the worker’s employment;
(ii) submission to or rejection of such conduct by a worker is used as the basis for employment decisions; or
(iii) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an worker’s job performance by creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment; or subject a domestic worker to harassment based on gender, race,  religion or national origin

(b) where such harassment has the effect of unreasonably interfering with work performance by creating a hostile working environment;

The bill states that domestic workers are among the most oppressed workers in the United States. They are often abused and mistreated and frequently work under harsh conditions. They are regularly forced by employers to work seven days a week and they receive little or no pay for their services. They are also often physically, emotionally and sexually assaulted and abused.

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