Brazilian Worker Center

Fighting for Social and Economic Justice

Governor Deval Patrick Signs Domestic Workers Bill of Rights into Law

Governor Deval Patrick Signs Domestic Workers Bill of Rights into Law
Boston Massachusetts, July 3, 2014.

More than 107,000 domestic workers including 30,000 PCAs are now protected under Massachusetts labor laws. We celebrated the passage of the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights with Governor Patrick's signing ceremony yesterday, on July 2, at the State House in Boston.  

The New Domestic Workers Rights are:

  1. Right to be Paid for All Working Time
  2. Guaranteed Days of Rest
  3. Right to Sue if Injured by Coworker
  4. Limits on Deductions for Food & Lodging
  5. Right to Privacy & Maternity Leave
  6. Protection Against Labor Trafficking
  7. Right to Written Evaluation
  8. Right to Written Employment Contracts for 16+ hours  
  9. Right to Document Retention & Notice of Rights
  10. Right to Notice/Lodging/Severance before Termination without a Cause for Live-ins
  11. Right to Protection against Retaliation
  12. Access to MCAD for Discrimination & Sexual Harassment Complaints

The Bill’s labor protections have been a long time coming.  Due to Jim Crow racial segregation in the 1930s, domestic workers were intentionally excluded from fundamental labor law protection during the Depression when most other workers gained new labor rights under federal law.  

For domestic workers in Massachusetts, that exclusion is now corrected.  Massachusetts is the fourth state in the United States to pass a law recognizing that domestic workers too deserve protection under our labor laws. We praise Massachusetts legislators and our Governor for their support.  In addition, this achievement could not have been possible without all the workers, friends, supporters, allies, endorsers, and funders who made up this broad movement for change.  

We would like to offer a special thanks to Steve Tolman, President of Massachusetts AFLCIO, who prioritized this Bill, making it a priority effort for the state labor federation, and also to the SEIU’s for their dedicated efforts on behalf of the Bill, and of course Greater Boston Legal services for providing the legal support to MCDW.  Thank you so much to all!

updated: 4 years ago