Legislator Abrahams Lauds New Law to Protect Domestic Workers

Legislator Kevan Abrahams (D-Hempstead) has praised Governor Paterson’s signing into law a bill which protects domestic workers in the workplace. Excluded from protection in the past this new law extends basic human rights to those who clean houses, care for our elderly and nurture our children.

“I am so pleased that this new law; long overdue in our state, has now been enacted” said Legislator Abrahams. “This law”, he continued “will finally give much needed protection to our domestic workers. It will help save them from abuse and improper treatment.”

Domestic workers will now receive similar workplace protection as do those employed in private industry. The bill will establish:
• The right to overtime pay at time and a half after 40 hours of work in a week, or 44 hours for in-home workers;
• A day of rest every seven days, or overtime pay if it is waived;
• Three paid days of rest annually after one year of work;
• The removal of the domestic workers exemption from the Human Rights Law, and the creation of a special cause of action for domestic workers who suffer sexual or racial harassment;
• The extension of statutory disability benefits to domestic workers, to the same degree as other workers; and
• A study by the Commissioner of Labor on the practicality of extending collective bargaining rights to domestic workers.
Legislator Abrahams concluded, “What a fitting tribute for our Labor Day celebration that New York State has extended basic fair labor standards to our domestic workers.”