New York and California advocate domestic worker rights

A huge stride has been marked with the passage of a bill that would guarantee overtime pay for domestic workers who work more than nine-hour days in a 45-hour week. California became the second state after New York to support such a bill.

The new legislature, AB-241, has been labeled the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights. Congressional leaders who authored the bill have stated the new law carries special significance for those who witnessed their own mothers working hard to clean other people’s houses. They claim the measure is long-overdue. A representative of government labor and employment contends this bill will provide relief for many families nation-wide who are struggling to be able to afford in-home help.

Critics of the bill claim it will result in placing an added burden on some employers, naming elderly and disabled individuals of low income who require around-the-clock care. They are requesting a committee review of the bill to measure its success, as well as a three-year waiting period to grant its permanency.

According to a report by the New York Department of Labor, the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights not only addresses the issue of overtime pay, but also includes provisions to a 24 hour period of rest every seven days, or overtime pay if the individual chooses to work on his or her day off. They are guaranteed periodic paid days of rest, as well as protection of human rights against sexual or racial harassment.

The bill is expected to impact those families struggling to find a nanny, and has received widespread bi-coastal support, making New York and California leaders in what some say is a historic effort to address issues of overtime pay. Child care providers, housekeepers and other domestic workers have united to show their support in rallies from coast to coast.

With New York and California spearheading this movement, proponents of the bill are confident that it provides an important step to ensuring employee rights for domestic workers in every state across the nation.

Source: 
huffingtonpost.com, “Domestic Workers Bill Of Rights Passes California Legislature” Robin Wilkey, Sep. 12, 2013

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