ICYMI: “Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights” Effective July 1, NJDOL Outlines Key Provisions

For Immediate Release: July 2, 2024

Office of the Attorney General
– Matthew J. Platkin, Attorney General
New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development
– Robert Asaro-Angelo, Commissioner

For Further Information:

Media Inquiries-
OAGpress@njoag.gov(OAG)
media@dol.nj.gov (DOL)

TRENTON – The “Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights” is effective as of July 1, 2024, and the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) has outlined the provisions of this law on its website, serving as a resource for both domestic workers and their employers.

Signed by Governor Murphy in January, the “Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights” (P.L. 2023, chapter 262) establishes a broad range of rights and employment protections, such as anti-discrimination and anti-harassment rights, privacy rights, and written contract requirements for domestic workers that provide in-home services to private households, including child care, house cleaning, care for elderly or disabled individuals, cooking, and more. Domestic workers can be hired directly by a household or an agency.

“The Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights recognizes the invaluable contributions domestic workers make to families and communities,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “This law is a crucial step to ensuring the fair wages, safe working conditions, and dignity every worker deserves, and to empowering those who are often overlooked yet play an essential role in the daily lives of others.”

“Domestic workers are hardworking, dedicated individuals who provide essential services to our communities and care for our children and vulnerable populations. For too long, however, they have not been afforded the protections of our civil rights laws enjoyed by others,” said Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin. “Thanks to Governor Murphy, that ends now. The Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights provides critical new protections for domestic workers, including against discrimination and harassment, that will be enforced by our Division on Civil Rights. We look forward to implementing this important law with our partners in the Department of Labor in recognition of the dignity that all workers deserve in their place of work.”

Domestic workers have new protections, regardless of their immigration status, including:

  1. The right to breaks, privacy, safety, and more.
  2. Protection from discrimination and harassment on the basis of a protected status such as race or sex under the Law Against Discrimination.
  3. A written contract with their employer(s). The written contract requirement does not apply if the domestic worker works less than five hours per month and, also, does not apply if the domestic worker is engaged in what the law refers to as “casual work;” which is work that is “irregular, uncertain, or incidental in nature and duration, and different in nature from the type of paid work in which the worker is customarily engaged.”
  4. Coverage under Workers’ Compensation, Unemployment Insurance, and Temporary Disability & Family Leave Insurance.

Private households who pay a domestic worker for services in their home are likely now considered an employer, and must inform the domestic worker, their employee, of their new rights. This could include a household that contracts with an employment agency for domestic services and where both the agency and the household, together, determine the terms of employment with the worker, such as schedule, pay, days off, breaks, etc. Private households which contract with an agency for services, but do not handle the employment terms, may not be considered employers. Employers with overlapping employment relationships with another hiring entity are jointly and severally liable for violations of the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights.

If a domestic employer has an employee who works five or more hours per month and is not engaged in “casual work, the domestic employer must create a written contract with their employee, in the employee’s language. Employers can find a model contract here.

If a domestic employer paid their employee more than $1,000 in either 2023 or 2024, they must:

  1. Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN).
  2. Register for NJ payroll taxes and make contributions starting July 1, 2024.
  3. Get Worker’s Compensation

If employers don’t comply, they could face consequences, including financial penalties. It is unlawful to retaliate against a worker who exercises their rights.

Further details are available at nj.gov/labor/domesticworkers.

“As a home care worker and an organizer in New Jersey, the passage of the New Jersey Domestic Worker Bill of Rights fills me with immense pride and hope. This legislation is not just a legal document; it’s a testament to the strength and resilience of domestic workers who have long been undervalued and unprotected,” said Evelyn Saz, New Jersey Lead Organizer of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. “As the bill goes into effect, we are taking a critical step toward justice. Domestic workers deserve to work with protections, dignity, and the respect we have rightfully earned. All the domestic workers who have tirelessly cared for others while enduring injustices in silence can today come forward and demand their hard-fought rights on the job. The New Jersey Domestic Workers Coalition looks forward to working closely with our partners in government to ensure that the promise of this law becomes reality for the 50,000 domestic workers in our state.”

“Hand in Hand is thrilled about the passage of the NJ Domestic Worker Bill of Rights. This landmark victory, driven by the fierce advocacy of domestic workers and supported by employers organizing with Hand in Hand, underscores the importance of fair working conditions for all New Jersey workers, including domestic workers,” said Jessica James, Lead Member of Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers Network. “Employers of domestic workers are families, parents, and individuals whose homes also serve as workplaces, and it’s critical that they understand their responsibilities under the law. As an organization dedicated to mobilizing domestic employers across race, class, and disability, we look forward to advancing our efforts through this law, advocating for a care system that works for everyone.”

New Jersey’s work rights laws, including the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, cover all workers, regardless of immigration status. If a domestic worker feels their rights related to pay and hours worked, contracts, breaks, privacy, misclassification, and notice and record requirements under the law have been violated, a complaint can be made online or by calling 609-292-2305.

New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination also covers workers regardless of immigration status.  If a domestic worker feels they have been subject to discrimination or harassment on the basis of a protected status such as race or sex, they may file a complaint with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights (DCR) by visiting http://bias.njcivilrights.gov or by calling 1-833-NJDCR4U (833-653-2748). DCR has also provided a factsheet on the civil rights protections for domestic workers.

To learn more about the law and the benefits and protections domestic workers are entitled to, visit nj.gov/labor/domesticworkers.

Guidelines contained in this press release and on the NJDOL website are for informational purposes only and should not be interpreted as legal advice. Regulations have not yet been published. NJDOL’s website will be updated as additional guidance, information, and materials become available.

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