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Rights of domestic workers at the center of new legislation

As the economy struggles to rebound in Minnesota and throughout the rest of the country, many Americans are turning to domestic work in order to pay the bills and put food on the table. These workers may be highly qualified to perform their jobs but may not be given basic employment rights because employment law in most states does not address the rights and benefits that should be given to domestic workers. These workers may be taken advantage of and may work harder than most for lower wages simply because they feel they have no option under the law.

After New York passed a similar bill, the California legislature recently passed a Bill of Rights for domestic workers, and the bill is now awaiting a signature by the state’s Governor. The Governor shot down a similar bill last year because he was concerned about the burden families may face in meeting the demands.

Although the bill started out asking for several benefits for domestic workers, it was later amended to focus on the wage amounts of domestic workers who work overtime. If the bill is made into law, any domestic worker that works more than 45 hours a week or 9 hours a day will be paid for overtime.

Despite being different than traditional employees who sign employment contracts, domestic workers may need the same rights as their traditional counterparts. As more states adopt legislation for domestic workers, others may be forced to catch up in order to keep qualified people in these positions.

 

Source: Huffington Post, “Domestic workers Bill of Rights passes California legislature,” Robin Wilkey, Sep. 12, 2013

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