MA Domestic Workers New Labor Rights official signed by Governor Deval Patrick June 26, 2014

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

MA Domestic Workers New Labor Rights official signed by Governor Deval Patrick June 26, 2014

Full MA Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Law Text

o Right to be paid for all working time which includes:
o Any time Domestic Worker is required to be on employer’s premises or on duty (except as provided below)
o Meal periods, rest periods, and sleeping time unless:
• Domestic Worker can leave the premises, and;
• Use time for her sole use and benefit, and;
• Is completely relieved of all work duties, and;
• There is a written agreement not to be paid
o Employer doesn’t have to pay for sleep time if:
• Domestic Worker works 24 hours or more, and;
• There is an agreement in writing between Domestic Worker and employer, and;
• Domestic Worker’s sleeping time is not usually interrupted by work, and;
• Employer provides adequate sleeping quarters.

o Right to days of rest
o If Domestic Worker works at least 40 hours a week, employer must provide at least 24 consecutive hours of rest per week and 48 hours of consecutive rest per month (to coincide with religious worship, when possible)
o If Domestic Worker voluntarily works over 40 hours per week or during a day or rest, employer must pay overtime rate (time and a half) for each excess hour worked

o Right to bring a bring a private lawsuit if Domestic Worker is injured on the job by a fellow employee

o Food: Domestic Worker does not have to pay for food and beverages unless:
o Food/beverages is voluntarily and freely chosen and;
o There is a written agreement between employer and Domestic Worker stating cost of food, and;
o Domestic Worker has ability to easily bring or prepare own food if she wanted to, and;
o Price accurately reflects cost of food and cannot exceed $1.50 for breakfast, $2.25 for lunch, and $2.25 for dinner.

o Lodging: Domestic Worker does not have to pay for lodging unless:
o Lodging is voluntarily and freely accepted, and;
o Domestic Worker actually desires and uses the lodging, and;
o There is a written agreement between Domestic Worker and employer, and;
o Lodging meets safe and sanitary housing legal standards, and;
o Price does not result In Domestic Worker making less than the hourly minimum wage, and
o Price is reasonable, which means:
• It does not exceed $35.00 per week for a room used by one person, $30.00 per week for a room occupied by 2 people, $25.00 per week for a room occupied by 3 or more persons.

o Right to privacy
o Employer cannot restrict, interfere with or monitor Domestic Worker’s private communication
o A Domestic Worker has the right to expect privacy (which includes right to privacy in bathroom) that is available under the state’s Privacy Law
o Employer cannot take any of the domestic worker’s documents or other personal effects
o Employer cannot restrict or interfere with domestic worker’s private communication or monitor communication

o Right to protection against trafficking through civil enforcement by AG (compliments MA Anti-Trafficking Law)
o Employer cannot engage in sex trafficking of domestic workers or labor trafficking, called “forced services”
o Forced services includes threatening serious harm, physically restraining an individual, destroying, hiding or taking any immigration documents, engaging in extortion, or causing or threatening to cause financial harm.

o Right to written evaluation
o A Domestic Worker may request a written evaluation after 3 months and annually thereafter
o A Domestic Worker may dispute the evaluation under the Personnel Records Law

o Right to a written employment agreement at the start of the job if Domestic Worker works 16 hours or more per week. Agreement must include:
o Rate of pay, including overtime
o Whether additional pay is provided for added duties/multilingual skills
o Working hours (including meal breaks and other time off)
o Whether employer provides benefits – paid or unpaid -- vacation days, personal days, holidays, health insurance, severance, transportation costs, earned sick time, etc.)
o Fees or costs, if any, including costs for meals or lodging
o Responsibilities of the job
o Process for addressing grievances and additional pay for additional duties
o Right to collect workers compensation
o Circumstances under which employer can enter the Domestic Worker’s designated living space on the employer’s premises
o Required notice for termination by employer and, if required, by Domestic Worker

o Right to document retention and notice of rights
o Employer must keep all notices and agreements for at least 2 years
o Employer must provide notice containing Domestic Worker’s rights under all applicable state and federal laws

o Right to notice/lodging/severance before termination of live-in Domestic Worker without cause
o written notice and at least 30 days of lodging either on-site or in comparable off-site conditions or severance pay equivalent to average earnings for 2 weeks

o Note: no right to notice or severance pay if employer makes good faith allegation in writing of abuse, neglect or other harmful conduct towards employer, employer’s family, or individuals residing in employer’s home

o Right to protection against retaliation
o Employer may not fire or in any other way discriminate against a Domestic Worker who seeks to assert her rights to fair wages and overtime. Removes exception for DWs who work 16 hours or less.

The above rights are enforced by the Attorney General and go into effect on April 1, 2015.
o Right to take sexual harassment, other harassment, and all discrimination claims to Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD)
o Personal Care Attendants have right to take sexual harassment claims only to MCAD.


o Right to maternity leave of up to 8 weeks for the birth or adoption of a child.
These rights are enforced by the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination and go into effect September 24, 2014.

Within one year of the bill’s enactment, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD) in consultation with AG will:

o Develop and implement a multilingual outreach program to inform Domestic Workers and their employers about rights and responsibilities under the law

o Program will include know your rights information, model employment agreements, educational materials for employers on their human resources duties – including information on taxes, benefits, insurance laws and a model written work evaluation form.

By April 1, 2015, the Attorney General will publish regulations concerning the parts of the bill enforced by that office.

updated 3 days ago