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Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Signed in Massachusetts

by Breedlove June 30, 2014

Following in the footsteps of the states of New York, Hawaii and California, the state of Massachusetts has passed Domestic Workers Bill of Rights legislation that was signed by Governor Deval Patrick into law last Thursday, June 26th. The legislation, spearheaded by the National Domestic Workers Alliance, provides several new labor protections for nannies, senior caregivers, housekeepers and other household employees. While the law will not take effect until April 1, 2015, families need to be aware of the following new requirements:

1. Employees must have at least 24 consecutive hours of rest in each calendar week if they work 40 or more hours per week. If the employee agrees to work on their day of rest, they must be paid overtime (1.5 times the regular hourly rate) for each hour they work that day.

2. A household employee is allowed to take up to 8 weeks of maternity leave if she has worked full-time for the previous 3 months. The maternity leave does not have to be paid, but the family must hold the employee’s job if she decides to return to work.

3. Meals and lodging cannot be deducted from an employee’s wages without their prior written consent.

4. If the employee is a live-in and the family terminates her employment without cause, the family must give written notice and allow the employee to either; 1) Continue living in their home for at least 30 days, 2) Pay for comparable off-site housing, or 3) Give 2 weeks of severance pay to the employee. If the employee is terminated for cause, the family has no housing or severance obligations.

5. A written evaluation of the employee’s work performance must be given after 3 months of employment and annually moving forward if the employee requests it.

6. If the employee works 16 hours or more a week, the family must provide a contract that includes the following information: 
- The rate of pay, including overtime and any additional compensation
- Working hours, including meal breaks and other time off
- Provisions for days of rest, sick days, vacation days, personal days and holidays and whether those days are paid or unpaid
- Information about severance and if transportation costs or health insurance are paid for or reimbursed

If you have any questions about any provisions in the Massachusetts Domestic Workers Bill of Rights and how it may affect your specific employment situation, please call our office at 888-273-3356. We’re here to help.

Special Provisions for Domestic Employers in New York State

by Breedlove August 19, 2011

Recent legislation in New York (the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights and the Wage Theft Prevention Act) mandates that all household employers meet the following special requirements:



PAY FREQUENCY. Employees should be paid for work performed within 7 calendar days of the conclusion of each workweek;


PAY & HOUR DOCUMENTATION. Employees must be paid at least minimum wage for every hour worked and pay details (including hours worked) should be tracked and reported on each pay stub; 


TIME OFF (PAID & UNPAID). Employees should be provided at least 3 days of paid time off after one year of employment.  In addition, employees should be granted at least one day off (24 consecutive hours of rest) each calendar week – or compensated for the 7th day of work at time-and-a-half their regular rate of pay;


OVERTIME. Employees should be paid overtime for all hours over 40 in a week.  Live-in domestic workers are entitled to overtime if they work over 44 hours in a week.  The overtime rate must be time-and-a-half the regular rate of pay;


NOTICE OF PAY RATE & PAYDAY. Employers must provide this notice to each employee at the time of hire -- and on or before February 1st of each year.



If you have any questions about the law or how it may impact your employment situation, please give us a call.  We’re here to help.

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