Resources > Rights

Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights
Housing (Migyul Magazine, Vol.2, May 2004)
Contributed by Chhaya CDC

Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights

Whether you are documented or not, you are protected by most federal and state
labor laws.

You are entitled to:

A minimum wage of $5.15 an hour (various states have various minimum wage requirements — in New York it is $5.15 though there is a campaign to push for the minimum wage to be raised to $7.10. Connecticut — the minimum wage is $7.10 and in Massachusetts it is $6.75 )

Payment for all the hours you worked

Payment of wages in US dollars once a week

Over-time pay of 1 and a 1/2 times your regular hourly wage for every extra hour you work over 40 hours in a week if you live out and 1-1/2 times your hourly wage for every extra hour you work in a week if you live in

One hour additional pay at the minimum wage for any day in which you work more than 10 hours or there is a split shift.


If you work more than 40 hours a week for the same employer, you have the right to Workers’ Compensation which pays for your medical bills and lost wages if you get injured on the job and miss work.

If you are documented and have earned at least $2,400 in the previous year at an
average of $123 per week, then you may be eligible for Unemployment Insurance if
you leave your job for a good cause or are fired.

Abuse and Harassment

It is illegal for your employer to:

  • Beat or hurt you in any way
  • Force you to have physical or sexual contact
  • Demand sex from you

Employer’s Threat to Report You to BCIS

  • It is illegal for your employer to threaten to report you to the BCIS if you ask about your labor rights. You can contact various community resources
    – such as Andolan – 718-390-7264 and Workers Awaaz 718-707-

False Promises of a Green Card

  • Your employer may offer to take care of your immigration matters. Do not
    take your employer’s word for it. Consult an immigration attorney on your
  • Often employers’ say that they will sponsor you for a green card, it can
    take as long as 15 years to obtain a green card as a domestic worker. If
    you leave your employer while you are waiting, you will have to begin the
    procedure again.

Other Rights

  • Your employer does not have the right to withhold your earnings for more
    than 7 days after the end of the pay period.
  • Whether you are documented or not, you have a right to be free of abusive behavior, including unwanted physical or sexual contact.

Some Government Resources

For Basic Wages/ Hour please check
US Dept. of Labor/ Wage and Hour Division
26 Federal Plaza, Suite 3700
New York, NY
Tel 212-264-8185

Workers Compensation

Workers Compensation insurance provides cash benefits and /or medical care
for workers who are injured or become ill as a direct result of the job.

The Brooklyn serves most of NYC.
Brooklyn District Office
180 Livingston Street
Brooklyn, New York 11248
Tel 718- 802-6600