A domestic workers bill that was unanimously approved by the state senate appears likely to become law soon. The proposal substantially expands the rights of cooks, housekeepers, nannies and others who commonly work inside residential homes and appears to be aimed at curtailing perceived abuses of this class of employees.
Among the highlights of bill’s terms are requirements that domestic employees who work more than 40 hours weekly receive a 24-hour rest period each week and a 48-hour rest period each month; that workers who do not live in the home receive pay for each hour worked up to 24 consecutively; that sleep-time hours deductions for live-in workers along with meals and lodging expense deductions be in writing; and the grant of maternity leave rights. The bill also requires employers, which includes families who employ domestic workers, to keep records of wages paid and hours worked. It grants domestic employees privacy rights and a right to request job reviews. For live-in workers, the bill provides a required period of notice or severance when employment is terminated without cause. None of these proposed protections applies to babysitters.
The proposed law is now awaiting action by the state house of representatives.