New Jersey Domestic Worker’s Rights Law is now in Effect

A new law granting domestic workers in New Jersey similar rights and protections as most employees in the state is now in effect.

The law, which Governor Phil Murphy signed in January, establishes 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.

Referred to as the the domestic workers’ bill of rights, the law, which passed late last year after years of failed attempts, extends workplace protections to housekeepers, in-home child care providers, cleaners, gardeners, and a host of others engaged in domestic services.

According to the law, the law, employers must provide domestic workers with at least one 10-minute paid break every four hours and are required to offer employees 30-minute meal breaks after five hours of consecutive work.

Employer is defined in the law as meaning “any person or corporation, partnership, individual proprietorship, joint venture, firm, company or other similar legal entity who engages the services of an employee and who pays his wages, salary, or other compensation; and any person exercising supervision of employees on an employer’s behalf.”

In addition, domestic workers now have a right to sue over harassment and discrimination claims.

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.

Employers can face penalties by the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development for non-compliance and retaliation, according to the law. Penalties would range from $975 to $13,653 and half of the fines would be paid to the employee, the law said.

According to the New Jersey Department of Labor, the state Wage and Hour Law and the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights cover all workers, regardless of immigration status.

The law does provide for some exemptions, including irregular hours.

At least 10 other states have similar laws on the books, including California, Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts.

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15 COMMENTS

  1. Get ready, I think this will likely spell the end to many people hiring individuals for cleaning help, for fear of false accusations of harassment or lack of breaks, etc. even if not true and hard to prove, for which the homeowner will then need to spend money hiring lawyers to
    defend them.

    • Gov. Murphy Promises to Pass ‘NJ Mamas Bill of Rights’ Law
      In response to a Lakewood mother, ‘lkwd mama’, who – upon reading a TLS post on Monday about a new NJ domestic workers’ rights law that recently went into effect – commented: “How about MOTHERS! Let’s unite for rights!”, NJ Governor Phil Murphy issued a statement in which he pledged to pass new legislation in NJ that would offer ‘lkwd mama’ and countless other ‘NJ mamas’ the same protections afforded to domestic workers and various other employees in the state of NJ.
      “It is high time that ‘lkwd mama’ and the rest of the NJ ‘mama community’ receive the same rights and protections as Alex, my incredibly talented gardener, or Iris, my highly dependable babysitter, or Alfredo Mancini ‘the 3rd’, my private chef par excellence,” Governor Murphy said in the statement.
      “There’s no reason why ‘lkwd mama’ and other members of the hard-working ‘mama community’ should not get a 10 minute break every 4 hours from their motherly chores and spousal duties!” the mayor said. “And why shouldn’t ‘lkwd mama’ and other mothers in the ‘mama community’ get a 30-minute meal break after 5 hours of consecutive motherly chores and spousal duties?”
      “Just as with domestic workers,” the Governor said, “the new law that I intend to introduce to the public soon – which I have dubbed, the “NJ Mamas’ Bill of Rights” law – will require that NJ ‘dadas’, otherwise known as ‘Dads’, create a written contract with their spouses, otherwise known as ‘mamas’. However, a written contract will only be required if the aforementioned ‘mamas’ are working 5 or more hours per month and are not engaged in “casual” work”, like playing ‘Pattycake’ and ‘Simon Says’ with their children.”

  2. Question: Is this article accurate? It says above that employers are required to offer employees 30 minute meal breaks aftery five hours of consecutive work”

    i checked the law in NJ and it says as follows:
    “Breaks are not required in NJ” A company may give it and have it in their Employee handbook, but it is still not required. This applies to lunch and i think to the 10 minute break mentioned above.

    • NJ does not generally require breaks for adult employees. but if receiving a said break, uninterrupted, completely relived of duties, for > 20 min it can be unpaid.

    • yes.

      This will open a floodgate of lawsuits. Anyone can claim they were harrassed…

      Also, which cleaning lady is willing to accept a contract? Then they will sue you for not providing one. Its an insane law that is not getting enough attention.

Comments are closed.