July 1, 2010 06:14 PM / NY1 News
Before heading out for the holiday the state Legislature passed a domestic workers' bill of rights today.
Advocates say this is the first piece of legislation in U.S. history to recognize domestic workers.
They say the bill would guarantee basic rights and protections for nannies, housekeepers and caregivers who have been excluded from labor laws.
"We're just saying that they'd be granted the same dignity and rights that all other workers in the State of New York and beyond have -- one day of rest after working a full week," said Manhattan Assemblyman Keith Wright.
"The bill of rights sets standards that don't currently exist in this industry," said Director Priscilla Gonzalez of Domestic Workers United. "So now employers have guidelines around what their obligations will be under the law, and workers will have basic rights and protections that have been denied to them for so long."
"There's a lot of people out there, including me, that don't get time off," said domestic worker Marilyn Blackett. "And even the mere fact of taking a vacation, you take it on your own, and you're paying out of your own pocket for that vacation, and it's not fair."
Governor David Paterson is expected to sign the bill.
Advocates say they are hoping this bill will set a precedent for other states, and that California and Colorado already have similar initiatives under consideration.