Speaker Carl Heastie, Labor Committee Chair Latoya Joyner and Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar today announced the passage of legislation to expand the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights so that domestic workers are covered under Paid Family Leave and temporary disability insurance programs (A.6077, Rajkumar).
“As part of the Assembly’s Families First agenda, we passed Paid Family Leave to ensure that all New Yorkers could take time off to care for their families or grieve for a lost loved one,” said Speaker Heastie. “This bill ensures that all hardworking New Yorkers can access Paid Family Leave and other critical benefits so they can put their families first without fear of financial repercussions.”
“Due to a technicality in the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights many hardworking New Yorkers have not had adequate access to Paid Family Leave and other important benefits,” said Assemblymember Joyner. “This legislation clarifies the initial intent of the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights so that all New York employees are treated equally under the law.”
“The legislation passed today will ensure that we honor the original intent of the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights by ensuring that domestic workers have equal access to benefit programs,” said Assemblymember Rajkumar. “Paid Family Leave was intended for all New Yorkers, but many domestic workers -overwhelmingly women of color - have been left out from taking this valuable time to care for their families. We need to ensure this basic level of support is available to all New Yorkers and today the State Assembly did just that.”
This bill would bring the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights in line with its original intent by providing that domestic workers, who work at least 20 hours per week and meet the duration of employment standard, are eligible for Paid Family Leave and temporary disability benefits.
The Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, established in 2010, granted new rights and protections to domestic workers in New York, including overtime pay, a day of rest in every calendar week, protections against harassment and expanded eligibility under temporary disability benefits. However, due to a technicality in the legislation, employers have not been legally required to provide these benefits to domestic workers who work less than 40 hours per week. This loophole has been further exacerbated by the enactment of Paid Family Leave, under which domestic workers are also required to work 40 hours per week in order to receive such benefits.