The Massachusetts Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development held a hearing on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 concerning a bill that would provide basic workplace protections to nannies and other domestic workers in Massachusetts.
The bill has been introduced in both the House and the Senate, and is supported by the Massachusetts Coalition for Domestic Workers. According to officials from the organization, the bill would require private households employing domestic workers to provide common workplace benefits, such as sick time, days off, breaks for food and rest, parental leave and severance. Those employing live-in workers would also be required to give notice prior to firing or evicting the live-in worker from his or her living quarters. The bill also provides for comprehensive sexual harassment protection for workers across the domestic employee spectrum.
The bill would not cover casual babysitters or workers employed by state-licensed home service and nursing services agencies that provide home attendant services. The state-licensed organization workers are already protected by their respective unions. The sexual harassment protections are extended to babysitters and state-licensed agency employees in the proposed bill.
Domestic workers staged a rally at the Statehouse in downtown Boston prior to Tuesday’s hearing. Workers at the rally stated that they are mostly women who work long hours in very low-wage positions and need this legal protection the most.
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