The New Jersey Domestic Workers Bill of Rights

Domestic workers play a crucial role in society. These workers support communities and households by providing a range of essential services. Domestic workers include, among many others, caregivers, housekeepers, gardeners, and drivers. Unfortunately, domestic work is one of the most vulnerable and unprotected types of work. Many domestic workers are excluded from basic labor rights and protections.

New Jersey used to be one of the states that excluded domestic workers from basic labor rights, such as the right to receive at least the minimum wage and overtime and to be protected from workplace harassment and discrimination. Domestic worker leaders and domestic workers in New Jersey now have a reason to celebrate, as this will change soon once the NJ Domestic Workers Bill of Rights takes effect later in the year. For many years, domestic worker leaders in NJ have pushed for a law that grants domestic workers similar protections as other workers in the state. Governor Phil Murphy’s signing of the NJ Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Act on January 12, 2024, is a massive win for domestic worker leaders and domestic workers. This legislation will take effect in July 2024.

Who is a Domestic Worker Under the Law?

Under the law, domestic workers include housekeepers, gardeners, caretakers, drivers, and others. Domestic workers include independent contractors, part-time and full-time workers, or temporary workers. Under the law, the term “domestic worker” does not include family members such as a spouse, sibling, niece, aunt, or uncle. Also, the legislation does not cover dog walkers, house and pet sitters, and individuals whose work mainly involves household maintenance or repair, such as plumbers and roofers.

What Rights are Included in the Legislation?

The New Jersey Domestic Workers Bill of Rights covers a wide range of rights and protections aimed at addressing several issues domestic workers in New Jersey have faced for a long time. Starting from July 2024, domestic workers in New Jersey will be entitled to several rights, including the following;

  • At least the minimum wage. Currently, the minimum wage in New Jersey is $15.13 per hour.
  • Meal and rest breaks.
  • At least one day off per week.
  • Protection against discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.
  • Written employment contracts for non-casual work or work that exceeds five hours per month.

The following is some of the information employers are required to include in the employment contract;

  • A specific list of job duties
  • Hourly wage
  • Overtime wage
  • Weekly schedule
  • Manner and frequency of payment
  • Sick leave and holiday leave
  • Breaks for meals and rest
  • Modes of transportation

In late 2023, the Department of Labor issued sample contracts for nannies, home care workers, and cleaners. These sample contracts cover much of the information the New Jersey Domestic Workers Bill of Rights requires.

Under the new legislation, there are also provisions aimed at facilitating enforcement of domestic worker rights and educating workers and employers about the law.

Employers should note that violating any of the provisions of the legislation will result in penalties ranging from $975 to $13,653. Fifty percent of these fines will be paid to the worker harmed by violations.

Legal Help is Available

If you need more information on the New Jersey Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights or legal help, contact our skilled New Jersey employment lawyer at The Trabosh Law Firm.

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