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Employment Rights for Maids, Nannies, and Other Domestic Workers

Domestic workers in New York have a number of significant rights.  For example, they must be paid overtime, given a pay stub showing their wage rates and deductions, and allowed both paid and unpaid leave to take care of health and family issues.

Here are some of their most important rights.

The Right to a Minimum Wage

Nannies and other household employees must be paid at least the minimum wage.  In New York City, the current minimum wage is $12.00 per hour for small employers.  It is $11.00 per hour for Long Island and Westchester County, and $10.40 per hour for the rest of the state.  These minimum wage rates are scheduled to increase over the next few years.

The Right to Overtime Pay

Nannies and other household employees who do not live in the home must be paid one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a seven-day work week.  Live-in domestic workers in New York must be paid one and one-half times their regular rate of pay when they work more than 44 hours in a seven-day workweek.

The Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights

The New York Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights covers full-time workers, including immigrants regardless of their immigration status.  It requires employers to provide the following wages and benefits:

  • At least minimum wage and overtime at time and a half
  • At least three paid days off after one year of employment with the same employer
  • One day of rest each week
  • Unemployment insurance for employees who are paid more than $500 per calendar quarter
  • Workers’ compensation insurance for full-time workers
  • Disability insurance for non-work-related injuries and illnesses including pregnancy
  • Written notice of work policies including sick leave, vacation, holidays, pay rates, and more
  • A regular, weekly payday
  • A pay stub that includes the number of hours worked, the gross pay, and any deductions for taxes or other money taken out of their pay

The Right to Paid Family Leave

The New York Paid Family Leave Law requires employers to provide paid leave for many family and medical reasons including:

  • Bonding with a newborn, adopted, or foster-care child during the first 12 months after birth or placement
  • Care for a seriously ill family member
  • Time to address important needs related to a family member’s military service

Employees can receive up to eight weeks of paid family leave.  Employers are required to deduct a small premium from the worker’s paycheck to pay for these benefits.

The Right to New York City Paid Sick Leave

Domestic workers in New York City who work more than 80 hours in a calendar year are entitled to two paid days off to care for themselves or for close family members when they become ill.  These two paid days off are in addition to the three paid days off they get from the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights.

The Right to Disability Insurance

New York requires employers of domestic workers to withhold additional taxes for disability insurance, which provides short-term benefits for employees who are unable to work due to a non-work related illness or injury including pregnancy.

The Right to Workers’ Compensation Insurance

New York employers are required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance if they employ a domestic worker for 40 or more hours in a week.  A domestic worker who is injured while working may then collect workers’ compensation benefits just like any other employee.  Failing to provide workers’ compensation insurance can result in fines of up to $2,000 for every 10-day period of noncompliance and criminal charges.

Getting Help

Help is available for domestic workers in New York who are not receiving the compensation and benefits they are entitled to receive.  It does not matter if you are a citizen, a permanent resident, or undocumented.  If you work for a family in New York, you are entitled to these rights regardless of your immigration status.

In addition, if you have a strong case, you can be represented by a lawyer on a contingency fee basis.  This means that you do not have to pay any attorneys’ fees unless you win.  And in most cases, the law requires your employer to pay your lawyer if you win.

To get more information about your rights, call us at (212) 601-2728.  The initial consultation is free and completely confidential.

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