Domestic Workers

Domestic Workers Bill of Rights
You work on a regular basis in someone’s home as a domestic worker, a housekeeper, a nanny, a home attendant or companion for an elderly or infirm person. Sometimes you live in the home with your employer. Just because you work in someone’s home as a domestic worker, a housekeeper, a nanny or a home attendant or companion does not mean that you can be treated unfairly.

You must be paid the minimum wage. And if you work overtime as a domestic worker, a housekeeper, a nanny, or a home attendant or companion, you are entitled to overtime pay at the rate of one and one-half times your regular wages.

If you live in your employer’s home, you must receive overtime rate pay after 44 hours of work in a week. If you don't live in your employer’s home, you must receive overtime rate pay after 40 hours of work in a week. For example, if you work 60 hours per week, and only get a flat $600 per week without any break down of pay, you would be entitled to overtime.

In addition, the law provides for liquidated damages if you are not properly paid. This means that for every dollar they owe you, they will be liable for another dollar. Plus, you would be entitled to interest at statutory rates for not paying you at the time you should have been paid. Please note that the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights became effective November 29, 2010, and wage violations that occurred before that date are not covered.

Employers of domestic workers often do not think that they need to follow requirements of wage law. They pay a lump sum per week, regardless of how many hours you work. They don’t keep records of the time you begin work and the time you end work. They don’t provide you with wage statements each week detailing your hours worked and your hourly pay or with annual statements describing this information. To prevent employers from engaging in wage theft, there are additional monetary penalties, up to $2,500, for failure to give you wage statements.

Your employer cannot take deductions from your wages except for legal withholding, such as income tax and social security. If you break something, that cannot be taken out of your pay.

The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Law also says that you cannot be subjected to sexual harassment or subject to discrimination.

Even if you are an undocumented domestic worker, your employer still has to pay you minimum wage and overtime as required by law.

If you ask your employer to pay you minimum wage and overtime, you cannot be subjected to retaliation. If your employer fires you, they will be subject to damages for the wages you lost as a result of the illegal retaliation. In addition, there are statutory damages, up to $10,000, for engaging in retaliation, in addition to damages for pay you will be losing as a result of having been fired.

Contact us online or call us at (212) 949-1001 so that we can review if your New York City employer is not paying you properly, not paying you minimum wage, not paying you overtime, or has subjected you to discrimination in violation of the New York State Domestic Workers Bill of Rights.