Domestic Worker Rights
It began with New York State’s Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights in 2010. Over the ensuing years, several states and cities have enacted labor laws to protect domestic worker rights.
Here are the states and cities that have passed domestic workers’ bills of rights and other employee protections.
California Domestic Worker Bill of Rights
California’s Domestic Worker Bill of Rights extends overtime pay rights to certain personal attendants working in the home who were not previously entitled to overtime pay under California law (Wage Order No. 15, governing household occupations). Personal attendants covered by this law are now entitled to overtime pay at 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for any hours worked in excess of nine (9) hours in a day or in excess of 45 hours in a week. A personal attendant is a person who works in a private household and spends at least 80 percent of their time supervising, feeding, or dressing a child or person who by reason of advanced age, physical disability, or mental deficiency needs supervision.
If the employee is a live-out household worker and not a personal attendant, then they are eligible for overtime after eight hours in a day and 40 hours in a week, and the first eight hours on the seventh consecutive day worked. They will also receive double time after 12 hours in a day and eight hours worked on the seventh consecutive day.
Learn more about California’s Domestic Worker Bill of Rights.
Connecticut Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights
Connecticut’s Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights ensures that employees have discrimination and harassment protections in the workplace.
Learn more about Connecticut’s Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights.
Hawaii Domestic Worker Protections
Hawaii’s Domestic Worker Protection law requires household employers to provide their employees with specific wage and employer information on their pay stubs including rates of pay and total hours, as well as listing the employer name and address on the pay stub. Employers must also maintain accurate and timely wage recordkeeping. The law also establishes basic rights and protections for household employees. They must be paid at least minimum wage and overtime for hours worked over 40 in a week. Overtime also applies to live-in employees.
The Domestic Worker Protection law also makes it illegal for a household employer, even if they have just one employee, to discriminate against a household employee in compensation or in terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of race, sex, including gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, religion, color, ancestry, disability, or marital status. Prohibited discrimination includes sexual harassment in the form of pressure to engage in unwelcome sexual activity; sexual assault; verbal harassment or abuse that is racial or sexual in nature and creates a hostile work environment; and unequal pay based on race, ancestry, or other prohibited bases.
Learn more about Hawaii’s domestic worker protection laws.
Illinois Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights
Household employees in Illinois who are regularly employed for at least eight hours a week receive added protections under the state’s Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights. Live-in employees and workers employed by an agency are also included. Occasional babysitters are excluded.
Under the Illinois Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, household employees must receive:
- An hourly pay rate of at least minimum wage
- At least 24 hours of rest in each calendar week and a 20-minute meal break for every 7 1/2 hours worked. The employee’s day of rest should, whenever possible, coincide with their religion’s traditional day of worship.
- Protections against sexual harassment
- Safeguards from being paid “an oppressive and unreasonable wage”
- If a household employee voluntarily agrees to work on their day of rest, they need to be compensated at an overtime rate for all hours worked that day.
Part-time employees – working 20 or fewer hours in a calendar week – are excluded from the day of rest requirement.
Starting January 1, 2023, the “One Day of Rest in Seven” requirement will change to 24 hours of rest in seven consecutive days from 24 hours in a calendar week. Also, if an employee works an additional 4.5 hours over 7.5 hours (or 12 hours total), they are entitled to a second 20-minute unpaid mail break.
Learn more about Illinois’ Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights.
Chicago Domestic Worker Agreement
Household employers in Chicago must provide their workers with written contracts. The work agreement must include the employee’s wages and work schedule and must be provided in the worker’s preferred language. A household employee includes any person whose primary duties include housekeeping, nanny services, caregiving, personal care, or home health services. This rule took effect on January 1, 2022.
Learn more about Chicago’s Domestic Workers Contract Mandate.
Massachusetts Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights
Under Massachusetts’ Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, household employees must receive:
- Pay for all working time when required to be on their employer’s premises or on duty
- At least 24 consecutive hours of rest per week if they work at least 40 hours/week
- Overtime pay of at least time and a half for hours worked over 40 in a week or if they work on their day of rest
- Eight weeks of parental leave for the birth or adoption of a child
- A written employment agreement that includes their rate of pay, overtime pay rate, working hours, days of rest, sick days, vacation days, holidays, health insurance, severance, other benefits, job responsibilities, the process for addressing grievances, right to workers’ compensation, and required notice for termination by the employer.
- A written evaluation, if requested, after three months of employment and then annually thereafter
- Protection against retaliation (can’t be fired or discriminated against when seeking fair wages and overtime)
- If an employee works more than 16 hours per week, they must be given a timesheet every two weeks that shows the number of hours worked each day
- 30-minute meal or rest break each workday if an employee works six or more hours in a day
- Also, a household employer must keep all notices, payroll records, and work agreements for at least three years.
Learn more about Massachusetts’ Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights.
Nevada Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights
Under Nevada’s Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, household employers must provide a written agreement in English or another language understood by the employee. The agreement must include, among other items:
- Description of job duties
- Notice of all federal and state laws applicable to domestic employment
- Workdays and hours of work, including break times
- Rate of pay and conditions of overtime
- Other payment and benefits, including health insurance, workers’ comp, and paid leave
- Frequency and method of payment
- Any applicable live-in employment conditions
Domestic workers must be paid at least the Nevada minimum wage, and payment must be made for all working hours, including sleep time and meal breaks if the worker is required to be on duty at those times. Hourly employees in Nevada are entitled to a special overtime pay rate of at least 1.5 times their regular hourly wage for all overtime worked if they work over 40 hours in a week and over eight hours in a day unless their regularly scheduled shift is 10 hours per day. Overtime compensation is not required for live-in employees.
Employers must provide a minimum rest period of 24 hours each calendar week, and a minimum of 48 consecutive hours per calendar month, for all domestic workers hired to work at least 40 hours per week. The employee may agree in writing to work on a scheduled day off but must be paid for all time worked.
A record of all employee wages and hours worked must be kept by the employer.
If an employer terminates a live-in worker’s employment without cause, written notice must be provided by the employer, as well as a minimum of 30 days of lodging for the employee, either at the employer’s home or an off-site location.
A domestic worker’s paperwork or personal items may not be taken by the employer. Employers are prohibited from restricting, interfering, or monitoring an employee’s cell phone or other communication devices.
Learn more about Nevada’s Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights.
New Mexico Domestic Service in Minimum Wage Act
New Mexico’s Domestic Service in Minimum Wage Act ends the exemptions for household employees from New Mexico’s wage laws including minimum wage standards. Household employers are required to pay their workers minimum wage and overtime, keep records, and pay employees in full and on time. The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions can investigate complaints, enforce a household employee’s rights, recover their wages, and assess damages.
Learn more about New Mexico’s Domestic Service in Minimum Wage Act.
New York Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights
New York’s Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights covers full-time workers including immigrants regardless of their immigration status. Relatives and casual workers like babysitters aren’t included.
Under the law, household employees must receive:
- An hourly pay rate of at least minimum wage
- Overtime pay of at least time-and-a-half for hours worked over 40 in a week (44 hours for live-in employees)
- At least three paid days off after one year of employment with the same employer if working 30 or more hours per week; two days of paid leave if working more than 20 hours per week, but less than 30 hours per week; and one day of paid leave if working less than 20 hours per week
- At least one day of rest per week. Employees can agree to work on their day of rest at an overtime pay rate. Employers are encouraged to coincide the rest day with the employee’s day of worship (if they have one)
- Written notice on work policies including sick leave, vacation, personal leave, holidays, hours of work, pay rate, overtime rate, and payday
The law also requires household employers to pay unemployment insurance, obtain workers’ compensation insurance, and acquire disability insurance.
Oregon Domestic Worker Protections
Under Oregon’s Domestic Workers’ Protection Act, household employees must:
- Receive at least 24 consecutive hours of rest each work week; if they work on their day off, they must receive overtime pay for each hour worked.
- Get at least eight hours of time off during a 24-hour period if they are a live-in employee and be provided a space with adequate conditions for uninterrupted sleep.
- Receive overtime pay of at least time-and-a-half for hours worked over 40 hours in a week, or 44 hours for live-in employees.
- Get at least three personal leave days each year if they have worked an average of at least 30 hours per week during the previous year.
- Have the right to cook their own food in the home, subject to reasonable restrictions based on the religious or health needs of the home’s residents.
- Enjoy protections under state laws regarding sexual harassment or harassment based on gender, race, national origin, religion, disability, or sexual orientation.
The law doesn’t cover in-home caregivers for seniors and persons with disabilities; occasional babysitters; independent contractors; or the employer’s parent, spouse, or child under 26 years old.
Learn more about Oregon’s Domestic Workers’ Protection Act.
Philadelphia Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights
Philadelphia’s domestic workers’ bill of rights law guarantees several labor rights for the city’s 16,000 household employees. It is considered one of the strongest laws in the nation that protects domestic workers and makes Philadelphia the largest U.S. city to extend labor rights to household employees.
Household employers are now required to provide their workers with:
- Written contract governing:
- a specific list of job duties
- hourly wage and overtime wage
- weekly schedule including the number of hours per week
- the manner and frequency of payment
- breaks for rest and meals
- paid or unpaid leave including sick time
- paid holidays
- any other benefits provided
- modes of transportation required and whether provided
- value of housing if provided
- sleeping period and personal time for live-in workers
- term of the contract
- any other terms and conditions as agreed upon by the domestic worker and the employer (provided that no provisions in the written agreement may waive a domestic worker’s rights under federal, state, or local law)
- An uninterrupted rest period of not less than 10 minutes for every four consecutive hours worked
- An uninterrupted 30-minute meal break after more than five consecutive hours worked.
- Paid and unpaid leave
- Two-week notification period before termination and a four-week notification period before termination for live-in domestic workers.
Seattle Domestic Worker Protections
Seattle’s domestic worker protection law provides minimum wage, days of rest, civil rights protections, and meal break rights to nannies, senior caregivers, and other employees who work in a private home. The law includes full-time, part-time, and temporary household employees. Household employers must also follow document retention rules.
Seattle’s domestic worker protection laws provide:
- right to earn Seattle’s minimum wage
- 30-minute uninterrupted meal period when the shift is more than five consecutive hours
- 10-minute uninterrupted rest break for each four consecutive hour shift.
- One day of rest after six consecutive days worked.
- Hiring entities are not allowed to retain an employee’s original documents or personal effects (e.g. passport)
Learn more about Seattle’s domestic worker protections.
Virginia Domestic Worker Bill of Rights
Virginia’s Domestic Worker Bill of Rights provides domestic workers with workplace protections including:
- Unlawful employment practice to fail or refuse to hire, discharge, or discriminate against any individual for the following reasons: compensation, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, veteran status, or national origin.
- Salaried employees are to be paid at least once a month; hourly workers are to be paid at least every two weeks or twice each month.
Washington, D.C. Domestic Employment Rights
The major components of the district’s Domestic Worker Employment Rights Amendment Act include a requirement for work agreements in household employment and an extension of human rights as well as occupational health and safety protections for household employees.
The work agreement must include:
- Start date of employment (and end date if applicable)
- Address where work will usually be performed
- Duties to be performed by the domestic worker
- Rate of pay per hour and overtime rate
- Form, place, and frequency of payment
- Date the first payment will be provided
- Weekly schedule, including days of the week, start time, end time, and number of hours of work per week
- Any rest breaks or meal breaks that are provided
- Types of leave from work provided and whether paid or unpaid
- Any other compensation or reimbursement provided by the household employer, such as health insurance premiums, transportation allowance, or separation pay;
- Whether the domestic worker must provide their own vehicle for the fulfillment of work duties
Even if any of these provisions don’t apply to the employment agreement between a household employer and their employee, the household employer still needs to specify in the work agreement the provisions that don’t apply.
For live-in domestic workers, the work agreement must include a description of the type and value of lodging provided, time of sleeping period, and personal time allotment.
The work agreement can’t:
- Require the domestic worker to waive any of these provisions
- Prohibit, punish, interfere with, or have the effect of deterring the domestic worker from filing a complaint or cooperating with an investigation
- Contain a non-compete provision to the extent prohibited in the Ban on Non-Compete Agreements Amendment Act of 2020