07 September 2010

New York Governor Signs Domestic Workers Bill into Law

On Tuesday, August 31, 2010, Governor David Paterson made history by signing the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights into law. The first bill of its kind to be passed in this nation, the measure ensures that basic workplace protections -- paid sick and vacation days, overtime pay, and one day of rest per week -- are extended to New York's 200,000 domestic workers, who have until now labored with limited rights under the law.

“Today we correct an historic injustice by granting those who care for the elderly, raise our children and clean our homes the same essential rights to which all workers should be entitled," the Governor said at the bill's signing. "I am grateful to the sponsors for their extraordinary efforts to enact this landmark bill, and most of all to those domestic workers who dreamed, planned, organized and then fought for many years, until they were able to see an injustice undone.”

As a result of the bill's passage, New York now leads the way in a national movement to protect domestic workers' rights. Ms. Foundation grantee Domestic Workers United led a years-long effort to steer the bill through the New York State legislature, and are now partnered with the National Domestic Workers Alliance to push for passage of similar measures in states across the country (they are working to pass a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights in California at present).

What amazing win for our grantees and for the hundreds of thousands of workers they represent! Check out the extensive news coverage the event received in the New York Daily News, from WNYC and the ACLU's Blog of Rights. And read the full press release from the event to learn what New York's leading politicos had to say in praise of this new legislation.

Photo: Governor Paterson and Domestic Workers United supporter before the signing. (For more photos, visit Governor Paterson's Flickr page.)

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