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Domestic workers entitled to overtime pay, time off

In 2010, the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights was enacted as part of the New York State Human Rights Law. It says that a person who works in the home of another person is guaranteed certain protections. Employers are required to provide compensation at or above certain minimumsand must meet requirements regarding overtime pay, unemployment insurance and time off.

Domestic workers are entitled to payment of at least minimum wage and overtime pay for working more than 40 hours in a week. Those who live with their employers must be paid overtime after the first 44 hours each week. Employers must allow at least one day off each week, or they must pay overtime for that day if the worker agrees to work it and employees are entitled to three days of paid vacation after one year of employment.

The law protects all workers, including those who are undocumented, with the exception that those who only occasionally perform work for another person may not be covered. Employers are also required to keep payroll records and provide the employee written notice of all deductions from pay. They are not allowed to deduct from wages without permission, excepting income tax, Social Security and other legally-authorized deductions. New York employment law requires that employees are covered by unemployment insurance if they are paid at least $500 in a quarter.

Violation of the provisions of the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights may be grounds for legal action. Those who believe they may have been treated unfairly by their employer may choose to contact an attorney with experience in employment law. The attorney may be able to evaluate the facts of the situation and provide advice or assist in pursuing compensation.

Source: "Facts for Domestic Workers," New York State Department of Labor, Sep. 27, 2014

Source: Department of Labor New York, "Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights", September 26, 2014

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