New Domestic Worker Protection Act Provides Many New Rights
By Anita Lichtblau, Esq. & Stephen M. Perry, Esq.
Domestic workers providing services within a household as employees or independent contractors now have a number of new rights, some of which are not accorded to any other type of worker. These new rules apply to household help such as housekeepers and childcare providers, but not childcare providers working fewer than 16 hours per week or on a casual, intermittent and irregular basis or personal care attendants.
Their rights include:
- Written notice of their rights under all state and federal laws that apply to the employment of domestic workers
- The Office of the Attorney General has issued a notice template that may be used: http://www.mass.gov/ago/doing-business-in-massachusetts/labor-laws-and-public-construction/domestic-workers/dw-know-your-rights.html.
- Payment of minimum wage ( $9 per hour as of January 1, 2015) and overtime paid for hours worked over 40 hours per week
- If worker works 40 or more hours per week, 24 consecutive unpaid hours off each week and 48 consecutive unpaid hours off each month
- A worker may agree in writing to work on a day off, but must be paid overtime for all hours worked that day
- If worker who does not live in the household is on duty for fewer than 24 consecutive hours, payment for all meal, rest, and sleeping periods, unless s/he is free to leave the premises and free from work duties
- If worker is on duty for at least 24 consecutive hours, all meal , rest, and sleep periods are working time, unless the employer and worker agree otherwise in writing, as specified in the regulations
- 30 minute unpaid meal break, unless prior written waiver
- For workers who work at least 16 hours per week, written notice of terms of employment and other information required by the law
- Leave laws apply to domestic workers
- Certain privacy rights
- Limitations on what an employer may deduct from pay for meals and lodging
- Employers who terminate without case domestic workers who live in the household must provide written notice of termination and either 30 days of lodging or two weeks of severance pay.
- Written record of hours worked
This article is not intended as legal advice. For more information or advice in complying with this new law, please contact your Casner & Edwards attorney or:
Anita Lichtblau is a partner in Casner & Edwards’ Employment Law and Nonprofit Organizations practice group.