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Albany, NY - NY Lawmakers Approve Nannies Rights Bill

Published on: June 1, 2010 11:08 PM
By: AP
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Albany, NY - New York lawmakers have passed bills to require overtime pay after eight-hour workdays and at least one day off weekly for more than 200,000 housekeepers, nannies and other domestic workers in the state.

Advocates say that if Gov. David Paterson signs the measures into law, New York will become the first state establishing those rights for household workers, most of whom are women and emigres and often are vulnerable to abuse.

Federal minimum wage laws already apply.

Unlike the Assembly-passed bill last year, the Senate measure that was approved 33-28 on Tuesday also guarantees a half-dozen holidays, seven sick days and five vacation days annually, all paid. Both would establish collective bargaining rights. The Senate bill also would require 14-day termination notice or pay and establish a worker’s right to sue.

Lawmakers will have to reconcile differences in the bills.

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“New York has long been a leader in protecting the rights of workers. We enacted child labor laws long before the federal government did and were the first to pass labor protections for those toiling in sweatshops,” said Sen. Diane Savino, a Staten Island Democrat. She said the legislation would not apply to casual laborers like baby sitters and occasional house cleaners. It would take effect Jan. 1.

Domestic Workers United, an advocacy group, estimated there are 200,000 such workers in New York City alone. The group said in a study that it found one-third reported verbal or physical abuse by employers, while two-thirds said they never received overtime pay.

Dozens of workers came to the Capitol on Tuesday to support the legislation. Some described employers who took advantage of them. Omatee Jagroop, who took care of an elderly woman in Queens for three years as a live-in, said she went for a year without a salary and later was often paid late and never in full. “I stayed at a job when I didn’t know there was help,” she said.

In 2007, a wealthy Long Island couple was convicted in federal court of conspiring to enslave two domestic servants brought from Indonesia by keeping their travel documents and having them perform forced labor for years with little pay.

Spokesman Morgan Hook said Paterson will review the legislation.

Sen. John Bonacic, a Middletown Republican who voted against the bill, said he found it “most offensive” that lawmakers would give rights to people who are in the United States illegally.

“I don’t need to see your green card status before I know if I’m going to treat you like a human being,” said Sen. Eric Adams, a Brooklyn Democrat whose mother was a domestic worker. “This is a landmark piece of legislation.”

Ai-jen Poo, spokeswoman for the National Domestic Workers Alliance, said a similar bill has been introduced in California and there’s interest in Colorado, and that some regulatory work was being done at the federal Labor Department to enforce existing rights.

“Minimum wage laws apply to domestic workers nationally. It’s overtime laws that domestic workers are often excluded from,” she said. That exclusion applies to those who live in their employers’ residences.

Sen. John Sampson of Brooklyn, who leads the Senate Democratic Conference, said they’ve been “denied basic protections” for too long.

Assemblyman Keith Wright, a Manhattan Democrat and sponsor of the Assembly bill that passed 98-44 last year, said Tuesday he’d been working on the legislation for six years and had doubted this day would come.


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1

 Jun 01, 2010 at 11:23 PM Anonymous Says:

These domestic workers are real peope who deserve to be treated with respect and provided with minimal benefits regardless of their immigration status. You would be surprised how many are employed within the heimeshe community to care for families with many young children or the elderly. Yidden should be willing to pay whatever the cost for the mitzvah of treating others with dignity and provide them with a minimal parnassah.

2

 Jun 01, 2010 at 11:44 PM Anonymous Says:

Just notified my worker the day before this ridiculous law becomes effective she FIRED

3

 Jun 02, 2010 at 12:09 AM Anonymous Says:

As a result of this legislation, domestic help will become less affordable, and therefore hired less - that's bad news for illegal immigrants searching for work.
Jewish women will have to stop making princesses out of themselves and will actually spend more time with their own children and their own households - now that's good news. That's if their husbands provide enough so that the women don't have to work. Guess kolel wives will suffer even more now...

4

 Jun 02, 2010 at 12:20 AM Anonymous Says:

Now be careful, when you hire an illegal Mexican, the government just might pull a Rubashkin type of prosecution on you. Not always - only when the people in power hate you for whatever reason. Fear your government. Welcome to the Stalinist Russia.

5

 Jun 02, 2010 at 12:29 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

As a result of this legislation, domestic help will become less affordable, and therefore hired less - that's bad news for illegal immigrants searching for work.
Jewish women will have to stop making princesses out of themselves and will actually spend more time with their own children and their own households - now that's good news. That's if their husbands provide enough so that the women don't have to work. Guess kolel wives will suffer even more now...

Who in the New York areas pays less then minimum wage to their cleaning ladies? We pay way more,how would it change that dynamic?

6

 Jun 02, 2010 at 12:28 AM Use Your Head Says:

Big Government at its best. If these women are unhappy with their working conditions, why don't they just quit?

These lawmakers are just looking for easy votes.

7

 Jun 02, 2010 at 02:26 AM Anonymous Says:

As I stated when news about this law was first reported on VIN, the solution is to share your help with other family members or friends, so you don't have too many hours, but maybe have 2 workers for less each. Unless you prefer getting sued.

8

 Jun 02, 2010 at 05:58 AM Anonymous Says:

You dont need green cards but will arrest me if i hire someone illegal i.e. rubashkin very nice senator

9

 Jun 02, 2010 at 06:21 AM Anonymous Says:

Since it is already illegal to hire people who are here illegally or on visitor's visas this law will add to the number of offenses committed, but will not have any real effect on the hiring of most household help in the Heimishe community. Do you know anyone who withholds taxes and social security etc, or do the vast majority just pay cash "off the books"?

10

 Jun 02, 2010 at 06:48 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

As a result of this legislation, domestic help will become less affordable, and therefore hired less - that's bad news for illegal immigrants searching for work.
Jewish women will have to stop making princesses out of themselves and will actually spend more time with their own children and their own households - now that's good news. That's if their husbands provide enough so that the women don't have to work. Guess kolel wives will suffer even more now...

So according to you, women who have to work are "princesses" if they hire someone to help them with for a few hours a week.

11

 Jun 02, 2010 at 07:07 AM anonymous Says:

To #3 what kind of sick,angry person r u????? GO GET HELP! Ur happy when yidden r down w no help? H_shem yerachem!such severe hatred and anger only comes from a goy!check ur roots!

12

 Jun 02, 2010 at 07:50 AM Anonymous Says:

All these types of laws do, is hurt the workers at the end, they will just get less hours. It's amazing a State that is broke and can't agree on a budget, has time to tell us how do deal with our budget...stay away from my pocketbook!

13

 Jun 02, 2010 at 09:14 AM to 10,11 Says:

Reply to #11  
anonymous Says:

To #3 what kind of sick,angry person r u????? GO GET HELP! Ur happy when yidden r down w no help? H_shem yerachem!such severe hatred and anger only comes from a goy!check ur roots!

I'm # 3. Let me clarify myself: I certainly don't want our women to suffer in any way. I'm referring to some scene I saw on Ocean Parkway - some mother dressed as a Barbie doll with her kids. The kids were holding her illegal slave's hand. The mother was walking pompously behind them, not even glancing at her own children. Stop being so full of yourself! Stop showing off, and be a real mother - your kids will thank you.

14

 Jun 02, 2010 at 11:10 AM anonymous Says:

To #13 so u take a. Glimpse of a woman on ocean parkway and claim all frum woman do that?? What's wrong with u? Rebitzen zehava braunstien said ah" put tuna fish on ur table, but get help(housekeeper) do u know why she said that? Its so important 2 be a MOTHER 2 ur kids not a maid! And yes bh" I have. Help in my house and I never let them watch my kids or hold their hands,but I know ppl w twins or triplets that do need help and I think its. Not safe 4 their children if they DO NOT have help! So while that one woman did that ,there's a whole world of ppl that don't!plse don't judge! And look 4 ahavas yisrael!instead of bashing s/o bec.they probably have more then u!

15

 Jun 02, 2010 at 07:17 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

As a result of this legislation, domestic help will become less affordable, and therefore hired less - that's bad news for illegal immigrants searching for work.
Jewish women will have to stop making princesses out of themselves and will actually spend more time with their own children and their own households - now that's good news. That's if their husbands provide enough so that the women don't have to work. Guess kolel wives will suffer even more now...

Sorry but I work, and I have a babysitter at home who watches my young children. You may see me dressed up and wonder, but I have to look professional so I pay her more to come help me in the morning with my children so I can get dressed. Is that wrong? Is it wrong to have help so I can feel human and not like a shlep. Is it wrong to have someone to watch my kids while I put makeup over the dark circles under my eyes. I love my children and my job, and I am a better professional, a better mother, and a less cranky wife with help. I'd rather be a relaxed mother who sees her children for 16 hours than a cranky mother who yells and berates her children to be quiet for 24 hours because she is overwhelmed and needs a few minutes of quiet.

16

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