Protections and benefits for domestic workers in New York are being expanded under a pair of new laws approved by Gov. Kathy Hochul late last week.
The laws, backed by Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar and Sens. Jessica Ramos and Julia Salazar, will affect approximately 300,000 domestic workers in New York. Many of these workers are women, immigrants and people of color who can be prone to discrimination and harassment, Rajkumar said.
"They are a cornerstone of our economy and our society. By caring for our children, our aging parents, and our loved ones with disabilities, they allow so many of us the flexibility to pursue careers," she said in a statement. "Domestic workers deserve the same freedom from discrimination and harassment afforded anyone at an office desk. Now for the first time our state’s Human Rights Law will provide them the same rights and protections as other workers. Domestic workers, overwhelmingly women of color and immigrant women, will now be treated with dignity and respect."
Adding domestic workers to the state's human rights law is meant to add protections in the law against discrimination for these workers. The expansion of paid family leave to include these workers will affect those who work at least 20 hours per week. Currently, domestic workers need to work at least 40 hours for the benefit to kick in.
Both new laws will take effect next January.