Starting April 1, 2015, the state of Massachusetts will extend employment protections to domestic workers under the “Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights.” The law will clarify that these workers are also protected under the workers’ compensation and unemployment statutes.
The legislation has to be followed by any entity or person that employs a domestic worker in a Massachusetts household-it doesn’t matter if the worker “lives in.” “Domestic worker” may apply to housekeepers, nannies, house managers, house cleaners, and those who do laundry, cook, or act as home companions or caretakers. Registered or licensed staff working with a placement or employment agency and casual babysitters are not covered, nor are individuals who work with seniors or the disabled under the state’s personal attendant program.
Among the new rights given to domestic workers under the bill: protection from unlawful harassment, guaranteed leaves of absence for adoption or childbirth under the state’s Maternity Leave Act, and protections from retaliation for complaining about work hours or wages. Rights have also been issued to domestic worker as they pertain to receiving notice about said rights, what consists of working time, guaranteed time off after working a full work week, the right to privacy, protection from excessive wage deductions for the costs of lodging, beverage, or food, as well as the right to request and dispute written evaluations. Domestic workers that are terminated from an employer’s household without cause have a right to written notice and receive at least 30 days of lodging or two weeks pay.
Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation
If you are a worker who was injured on the job, you may be entitled to work injury benefits. Filing for and receiving Massachusetts workers’ compensation can help cover medical costs, disability, and wages you would lose otherwise should you need time off work. In some cases, a worker may sustain injuries serious enough that going back to work becomes impossible. Families of someone who dies in a work accident or from a disease or illness acquired on the job may be entitled to work injury benefits.
NEW RIGHTS UNDER THE MASSACHUSETTS DOMESTIC WORKERS’ BILL OF RIGHTS, National Domestic Workers Alliance
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Three Fatalities, Two Injuries Sustained in Recent Massachusetts Traffic Crashes During Christmas Week, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, December 26, 2014