Understanding Your Rights as a Domestic Worker

While worker’s rights are clear and commonplace in organized industries nationwide, as a domestic recruitment specialist, I often find that the rights of domestic professional are unclear to both employers and employees. Luckily, the New York State Department of Labor provides an in-depth resource on their website outlining the “Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights which took effect on November 29, 2010. https://labor.ny.gov/legal/domestic-workers-bill-of-rights.shtm. The resource provides facts for employers, facts for employees, and frequently asked questions.

Requirements of The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights

  1. A domestic worker must receive overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours per week.
    • Overtime pay is defined as 1.5 times the basic hourly rate.
    • If workers are “live-in” employees, overtime pay kicks in after 44 hours in a work week
  2. Workers must be provided with 24 hours of rest every 7 days, or overtime pay if the worker agrees to work on their rest day.
  3. Employers must provide the employee with at least three paid rest days each year, after one year of work in the home.
  4. Domestic employees are entitled to coverage under the New York State Human Right Law.
    • This is aimed to protect domestic employees from harassment because of sex, gender, race, religion or national origin, or retaliation due to complaining of such harassment.

It is noted that these rights do not extend to employees who work on a casual basis such as part-time babysitters.

Description of the Employer Requirements Under the Bill

In addition, the points listed above, the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights lists additional requirements that must be met by domestic employers under New York State Law It is stated that employers must pay their employees at least the minimum wage appropriate to the region. Employers must also offer a written notice regarding their policies on sick leave, vacation, personal leave, holidays, and hours of work. Additional written notice must be provided listing the regular and overtime rates of pay and the regular payday. State law also requires that employers must pay taxes for unemployment insurance if the employee earns $500 or more in cash wages in a quarter. Employers must provide Worker’s Compensation Insurance to employees working at least 40 hours/week. Finally, employers must provide a document including the number of hours worked, gross pay, and any deductions for taxes on a weekly basis. Deductions must be agreed upon in writing.

Requirements of All Household Employees

The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights states that it is the employees’ responsibility to file any state and federal income tax return that may be due each year. Additional information regarding facts for Domestic Workers can be found at https://labor.ny.gov/legal/laws/pdf/domestic-workers/facts-for-domestic-workers.pdf.

***While this blog outlines the basic rights of domestic workers in the State of New York, I highly encourage everyone concerned with domestic workers’ rights to visit NY’s Department of Labor Website If you are concerned with domestic workers rights outside of New York State, please contact your state’s labor department regarding any questions or concerns you might have.

Contact Pavillion Agency Today

Working with an experienced domestic staffing agency like Pavillion is one of the best ways a domestic worker can ensure they are being justly protected. Pavillion Agency prides itself in finding the best opportunities for its domestic workers and goes to many lengths to ensure our employees are cared for. Please submit your candidate application on our website to start your journey with an experienced domestic help agency today.

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