Labor and Employment Law: Domestic Worker’s “Bill of Rights” Amends New York’s Labor, Human Rights, and Workers Compensation Laws to Extend Certain Employment Protections to Housekeepers, Nannies and other Domestic Workers

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP - September 29, 2010

On August 31, 2010, Governor Paterson signed into law amendments to the New York Labor Law, Human Rights Law, and the Worker’s Compensation Law that will for the first time extend the protection offered by these laws to household workers. The bill also provides for a report to be presented to lawmakers prior to November 1, 2010 on the feasibility of allowing domestic workers to unionize.

The law, which will take effect November 29, 2010, provides the following protections for domestic workers such as housekeepers, nannies, and companions to the elderly:

  • The right to overtime pay at time and a half after 40 hours of work in a week, or 44 hours for live-in workers;
  • The right to a six-day work week, or overtime pay for work beyond six consecutive days on the designated day of rest;
  • The right to an eight-hour work day;
  • The right to three paid vacation days annually after one year of employment;
  • Protection from discrimination and sexual harassment; and
  • The right to disability benefits.

The new law makes New York the only state in the nation to offer domestic workers such extensive protections.