New Jersey Domestic Workers Gain Added Protections
January 23, 2024 | By: Yostina Mishriky, Esq.
On January 12, 2024, Governor Phil Murphy signed the New Jersey Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Act (S-723/A-822), establishing a broad range of rights and employment protections for domestic workers. Domestic workers were previously excluded from the Law Against Discrimination and the New Jersey State Wage and Hour Law, leaving them without employee rights such as protections against harassment and discrimination, rest and meal breaks. The new law follows the precedent set by other states, including California, Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts. Similar bills are pending in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. The law will take effect in July 2024.
Domestic workers under the law include caretakers, housekeepers, organizers, gardeners, drivers, or other domestic service workers, and can include full-time and part-time employees, independent contractors, or temporary workers. The law excludes dog walkers, house sitters, people whose primary work is house maintenance such as roofers or plumbers, and home health care aides paid through public funds.
The new law covers a wide range of rights and protections, aimed at addressing long-standing issues domestic workers are now entitled to including:
- The establishment of written agreements to document hours, wages and duties;
- Mandatory meal and rest breaks;
- Protection against discrimination, harassment and retaliation;
- Provisions to facilitate the enforcement of domestic worker rights and to educate both workers and employers about the new law;
- Requires employers to provide notice to domestic workers about their rights; and
- Ensures advance notice of termination and provides other protections for live-in workers, such as privacy and anti-trafficking safeguards.
The passing of the New Jersey Domestic Workers Bill prompts employers to uphold higher standards and comply with essential labor regulations. Violations of the new law will result in penalties issued by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development ranging from $975 to $13,653. In addition, half of the fines would be paid to the domestic worker. For more information and assistance to ensure compliance with the New Jersey Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Act, please contact Dina M. Mastellone, Esq. Partner, and Yostina Mishriky, Esq., Associate, in the Employment Law & Litigation Group via email respectively here or here or call 973.533.0777.