June 2, 2010
Senator William T. Stachowski (D, Lake View) tonight announced the New York State Senate has passed the historic Domestic Workers Bill of Rights (S.2311-A) which would make 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.
This groundbreaking legislation guarantees protection from discrimination, notice of termination, paid sick days and holidays, and other basic labor protections long denied to nannies, housekeepers, elderly caregivers, and others employed in private homes who keep families safe and functioning throughout New York.
Due to their exclusion from the Depression-era National Labor Relations Act, domestic workers are too often subject to rampant exploitation and degradation, often working long hours isolated in their employers’ home without basic protections to fight back without the fear of losing their job.
The Senate measure that was approved 33-28 on Tuesday would also establish collective bargaining rights for domestic workers, require 14-day termination notice or pay and establish a worker's right to sue.
“I am pleased to join my Senate colleagues in passing this important reform in the Labor Law for domestic workers,” said Senator Stachowski. “We have over 200,000 domestic workers in New York State whose daily labors as nannies, elder care givers and housekeepers are a cornerstone of the New York economy, yet they are practically invisible due to unfair labor standards. These individuals work long hours, often receiving inadequate pay, dehumanizing treatment and sometimes even physical and sexual harassment. No one should have to struggle for dignity and respect in the workplace. This legislation will institute the same and proper working conditions for our hardworking domestic employees that the rest of us take for granted.”
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.