New York City Increases Protections for Domestic Workers

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio enacted the bill on Wednesday that extends the protections of the city’s rights law to domestic workers, a large number of them women and immigrants.

According to data from the Fiscal Policy Institute, provided during the signing of the project, it is estimated that in this city there are more than 200,000 domestic workers, most of whom provide some type of care to children and adults.

It is estimated that 91% of the people who perform this job are women, 81% are immigrants and 32% are African American.

During the pandemic they were considered essential workers.

Labor estimates indicate that this sector will continue to grow at a rate three times faster than other occupations, the director of the city’s Human Rights Commission, Carmelyn P. Malalis, said during the event.

He highlighted that many New Yorkers would not be able to thrive or participate in the workforce, or even survive financially, without the support of home health aides, house cleaners and child caregivers.

“Domestic workers have historically been marginalized and excluded from many laws at the national and state level, including anti-discrimination laws. Today we say no in New York City,” he said.

In 2018, De Blasio signed legislation to protect this sector from gender-based harassment, including sexual harassment. Today, new legislation expands those protections to make it illegal for employers to discriminate against domestic workers on the basis of gender, age, race or religion.

The city’s Human Rights Law further requires employers to take sexual harassment training and provide their employees with “a notice” of all of their rights.

In 2010, the New York State Legislature gave the green light to a proposal that guaranteed them a minimum wage and days off.

“These women spoke with passion and eloquence” during the public hearing process last August, the mayor recalled.

The passage of this bill has corrected a “historical error” that for a long time domestic workers were not protected from discrimination in the workplace, and represents a breakthrough for women of color, according to the National Alliance of Domestic Workers. EFE News

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