NY lawmakers approve domestic worker rights

By Michael Virtanen
Associated Press Writer / June 1, 2010

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ALBANY, N.Y.—New York lawmakers have passed bills to require overtime pay 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. Many of the workers are women, mostly emigres and often vulnerable to employer abuse.

Overtime pay would be required after eight-hour workdays. Federal minimum wage laws already apply.

The Senate measure was approved 33-28 Tuesday. Unlike the Assembly-passed bill last year, it also guarantees a half-dozen paid holidays, seven sick days and five vacation days annually. Both would establish collective bargaining rights.

Lawmakers will have to reconcile differences in the bills.