Governor Paterson Signs New York Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights

September 7th, 2010 | By Jules Halpern Associates | Discrimination, Harassment, Homecare, New York Law, Wages and Hours

On August 31, 2010, Governor Paterson signed into law the New York Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights.  The purpose of the law is to “ensure that the rights of domestic workers are respected, protected, and enforced.”

The law defines “domestic worker” as “a person employed in a home or residence for the purpose of caring for a child, serving as a companion for a sick, convalescing or elderly person, housekeeping, or for any other domestic service purpose.” It does not include individuals who (1) perform work on a casual basis, (2) provide companionship services but are employed by someone other than the family or household receiving such services, and/or (3) are a relative through blood, marriage or adoption of the employer or of the person for whom the worker is providing services under a program funded or administered by the government.

The Bill of Rights extends to domestic workers the following protections under the New York State Human Rights Law and New York State Labor Law:

  • Domestic workers are protected from harassment on the basis of sex, race, religion or national origin.  This prohibition applies even where the domestic worker is the employer’s only employee (e.g., a family with one housekeeper).
  • Domestic workers must receive overtime at 1.5 times the worker’s regular hourly wage rate for all hours worked over 40 in a week.  Workers who reside in their employer’s homes must receive overtime for all hours worked over 44 in a week.
  • Domestic workers must receive one full day of rest per calendar week. Those workers who choose to work on their day of rest must be paid overtime for all hours worked that day, regardless of how many hours they worked that week. This day of rest “should, whenever possible, coincide with the traditional day reserved by the domestic worker for religious worship.”
  • Statutory disability benefits are extended to domestic workers to the same degree as other workers.

The Bill of Rights also entitles domestic workers to three paid days off per calendar year after one full year of service.

The law becomes effective November 29, 2010.  Governor Paterson’s press release can be found at

Jules Halpern Associates LLC

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Jules Halpern Associates LLC
JULES HALPERN ASSOCIATES LLC is a boutique law firm committed to serving our clients in all facets of their workplace issues. We provide personalized, practical advice that resonates with our clients’ business objectives.
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