Senate Passes Historic Bill to Protect Domestic Workers

Neil D. Breslin

June 02, 2010

For Immediate Release
Contact: Kelly Conboy││518.455.2225

(Albany, NY)-The New York State Senate passed the historic Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, making New York the first state in the nation to provide new standards of worker protection for more than 200,000 employees in an industry which has gone unregulated for decades, Senator Breslin (D- Delmar) announced.

This groundbreaking legislation guarantees protection from discrimination and notice of termination, provides paid sick days and holidays, and other basic labor protections long denied to nannies, housekeepers, elderly caregivers, and others employed in private homes keeping families safe and functioning throughout New York.

Due to their exclusion from the Depression-era National Labor Relations Act, domestic workers have been subject to  rampant exploitation and degradation, often working long hours isolated in their employers’ home without basic safeguards.

“Domestic workers deserve the same protection under the law as those in every other field,” said Senator Breslin. “It is a matter of justice and equality to provide those who can’t speak up for themselves with equal rights and fair pay. These individuals care for our families and our homes, providing vital services to the public. Now, we are ensuring that domestic workers can better provide for themselves and their own families.”

A study conducted by Domestic Workers United, a non-profit organization of domestic workers and advocates, found that 33 percent of domestic workers reported verbal or physical abuse at the hands of their employers, while another 67 percent reported sometimes or never receiving overtime pay. 

“Most of us take these basic protections for granted. But it means a world of difference for the over 200,000 domestic workers across New York State,” concluded Senator Breslin.