NY lawmakers back rights for domestic workers

Diane J. Savino

July 22, 2010

By MICHAEL VIRTANEN, Associated Press Writer

Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 1:46 p.m.

— New York domestic workers will be the first in the U.S. guaranteed overtime pay, as well as time off and protections against sexual harassment, under a measure given final legislative approval Thursday.

An advocacy group, Domestic Workers United, estimates there are 200,000 domestic workers in New York City. The group said it found about one-third reported verbal or physical abuse by employers, and two-thirds said they never received overtime pay.

There may be another 60,000 to 70,000 statewide, said Sen. Diane Savino. They are predominantly women and foreign-born.

"We believe this will be the beginning," said Savino, a Democrat from Staten Island who sponsored the Senate bill. "Like every other major change in labor law the federal government finally enacts, it always starts with the states."

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