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New York Revises Domestic Worker Protections

New York has modified it protections for domestic workers to ensure they are now protected under the NY Human Rights Law (NYHRL) and that domestic worker protections are also extended to part-time workers.

Prior to January 1, 2022, domestic workers who worked at least 40 hours per week, were protected under the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, which took effect on November 10, 2010. According to the legislation, a domestic worker is defined as an individual who works in another person’s home including:

  • Caring for children or a sick or elderly person
  • Housekeeping chores
  • Other domestic duties performed in the employers’ homes

Specifically, under the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, domestic workers are protected under:

  • Workers’ Compensation Insurance if the employee is hurt on the job;
  • Disability Benefits Insurance if the employee is injured or becomes ill outside of work and misses more than seven days of work as a result;
  • Anti-Harassment provisions protecting an employee from harassment from employers; and
  • Anti-retaliation provisions preventing negative action against the employee for complaining to the New York Department of Labor for violations.

However, through the passage of A.B. 6077, domestic worker employees are no longer required to work a minimum of 40 hours to fall under the scope of the law. Effective January 1, 2022, as long as an employee works for at least 20 hours per week and works for the same employer for at least 30 calendar days, they will receive the same protections that would previously only apply to full-time domestic workers.

Additionally, on December 31, 2021, Governor Hochul signed SB 5064 into legislation. Effective on January 1, 2022, SB 5064 expands on the protections to domestic workers by including them within the definition of an “employee,” for all purposes under the New York Human Rights Law (NYHRL). The NYHRL provides protection in employment regarding discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. By expanding the definition of employee to include domestic workers, they now fall under the protection “against discrimination due to age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, military status, sex, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, familial status, marital status, domestic violence victim status, favorably resolved arrest record, or because the individual has opposed any practices forbidden under the NY HRL or because the individual has filed a complaint.”

Next Steps for Employers

Employers that employ domestic workers should review their current policies and procedures to ensure that disability and worker’s compensation insurance benefits are now also being provided to those working at least 20 hours per week. Moreover, employers should review their non-harassment and anti-retaliation policies to ensure that protections also apply to domestic workers. 

HR Works, Inc., headquartered at 200 WillowBrook Office Park in Fairport (Rochester), New York, with an office in East Syracuse, is a human resource management outsourcing and consulting firm serving clients throughout the United States. HR Works provides scalable strategic human resource management and consulting services, including: affirmative action programs; benefits administration outsourcing; HRIS self-service technology; full-time, part-time and interim on-site HR managers; HR audits; legally reviewed employee handbooks and supervisor manuals; talent management and recruiting services; and training of managers and HR professionals.