Mass.: Domestic Worker Bill of Rights Set to Take Effect

By Diane Cadrain Jan 15, 2015
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Chapter 148 of the Acts of 2014 brings Massachusetts among the handful of states extending workplace protections to domestic workers. The new law will take effect April 1, 2015.

The bill:

  • Guarantees that domestic workers get breaks for meals and rest, termination notices, and work evaluations.
  • Clarifies their work duties and state laws regarding what deductions employers can make for food and lodging.

*Ensures that domestic workers are protected from discrimination and sexual harassment and brings their employers under the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts Commission against Discrimination.

The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office will enforce these provisions once they go into effect in April, and the state’s Department of Labor Standards will develop a multilingual outreach program to educate the commonwealth’s domestic workers about their rights.

“Domestic workers by the very nature of their jobs are isolated, and are often unaware of their rights,” said Attorney General Martha Coakley. “All workers deserve to be paid fairly and to enjoy basic workplace standards. This law will help to ensure that these workers and their employers are aware of the rights now afforded to them.”

Massachusetts joins three other states, New York, California and Hawaii, in passing labor protections for domestic workers.

Diane Cadrain is an attorney who has been writing about employment law issues for more than 20 years.

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