TRENTON – The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee advanced legislation sponsored by former Governor Richard Codey that would create the “New Jersey Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights Act”. The bill would establish stronger labor and employment protections for the roughly 50,000 workers in New Jersey who provide domestic services, whether they are hourly or salaried, part-time or full-time, or if they are independent contractors.
“Domestic workers are essential workers, supporting a third of families in New Jersey who often need specialized care or other forms of domestic assistance. However, they tend to earn among the lowest wages of all occupations and often fall victim to poor working conditions, wage theft, lack of formal contracts, and unpredictable work schedules,” said Senator Codey (D-Essex/Morris).
According to a 2021 National Domestic Workers Alliance survey, over one-third of domestic workers do not get meal or rest breaks. Over three-fourths receive no pay if an employer cancels on them, even if the cancellation occurs after they arrive to work. Almost a quarter of domestic workers surveyed reported that they do not feel safe at work.
Senator Codey added, “The demand for domestic workers is projected to surge over the coming years as the country’s population continues to age and the need for home health and personal care aids increases. We must ensure these workers are treated humanely and afforded the same respect as all workers are entitled to, especially given the essential and necessary care and support they provide to New Jersey families. No one should be subject to the mistreatment that many domestic workers face on a daily basis, and this legislation will put the proper protections in place to prevent these abuses.”
Under the bill, S-723, the exclusion of domestic workers from the “Law Against Discrimination” and the “New Jersey State Wage and Hour Law” would be removed. The legislation would also provide privacy rights for domestic workers, establish standards for breaks, and require employers to enter into a written contract with the domestic workers they employ.