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New Requirements for NY Employers of Domestic Workers

Employers of domestic workers in New York State are now required to treat domestic workers similar to the way major corporations have to treat their employees.  A new law, titled The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, went into effect on November 29, 2010.  This law covers any one working in a private home (e.g. a housekeeper or nanny), but excludes domestic workers employed by an agency, those who work on a casual basis (e.g. a part-time babysitter) or relatives of the employer. 

Under this new law, domestic workers must be paid minimum wage and must receive overtime for all hours worked over 40 in a given week (44 in the case of a worker living in the employer’s home).  All employees must receive written notice of their pay rate, overtime rate and their regular pay date.  Employers need to keep detailed records of payroll, payroll deductions and time worked by each employee.  In addition, employers must provide a written list of their policies, including sick leave, vacation days and benefits.  After one year of service for the same employer, all domestic workers must receive at least 3 days of paid leave per year. 

Employers of domestic workers must also carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance for anyone who works at least 40 hours per week.  Unemployment Insurance taxes must be filed for and paid by the employer.  The legislation also contains a non-retaliation provision which means employers may not retaliate against a domestic worker for complaining about a labor law violation or for filing a harassment charge.  The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights protects domestic workers from harassment by their employers. 

Now the average hardworking couple who has to have a nanny for their children is an “employer” and must comply with a number of new rules.  This may be a sign of more employee protections to come.  Who knows, maybe next the state will require parents to obtain Workers’ Compensation Insurance before they can ask their children to perform chores.  As always, we will keep you up to date on any changes to New York’s employment laws.

Brody and Associates regularly advises management on complying with state and federal employment laws including wage and hour laws.  If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at info@brodyandassociates.com or 203.965.0560.