Massachusetts Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights

Massachusetts employers of domestic workers must comply with the Massachusetts Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights.  The Bill of Rights, which took effect in April 2015, provides guidelines for payment of wages, provision of paid time off, and other requirements.  This law helps protect domestic workers such as nannies, housekeepers, house managers, butlers, personal assistants, yacht crew, maternity nurses, chauffeurs, chefs, security personnel, and valets.  

Payment of Wages

Domestic workers must be paid at least the state minimum wage ($12.00 per hour as of January 2019) for all hours worked and must be paid one and one-half times their normal hourly rate for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week.   According to the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, employees have the right to be paid for all working time when required to be on the working premises or on duty.   Employees who work 40 or more hours in a week must be provided at least 24 consecutive hours of rest each week and a 48-hour rest period monthly. If your employee agrees to work on their day of rest, they must be paid time and a half.

Requirement for Written Agreements

Employers of domestic workers in Massachusetts must provide domestic workers with a written employment agreement which must include: 

  • The domestic employee’s rate of pay (including overtime):
  • Working hours (including meal breaks and other time off);
  • A description of any available benefits such as days of rest, sick days, vacation days, holidays, health insurance, severance, etc.;
  • A description of job responsibilities;
  • A process for addressing grievances;
  • Notification of the domestic workers’ right to collect workers compensation benefits if injured on the job;
  • Required notice for termination by the employer.

Employers must maintain all notices and agreements for at least two years.   

Evaluations

Employees may request that their employers provide them with a written evaluation after three months of work and then annually thereafter. Employees can dispute the evaluation in writing by demanding that the employee’s written dispute be included in the employee’s personnel record pursuant to M.G.L. c. 149 § 52C.

Notice for Live-In Domestic Workers

Live-in domestic workers who are fired without cause must be given written notice and 30 days of lodging either on-site or in a comparable off-site location, or severance pay representing their two-week average earnings. If just cause is given for termination, no housing or severance obligations are required.

If you are a domestic worker in Massachusetts and believe that your employer has violated your rights, contact the Massachusetts employee rights attorneys at Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore, LLC.  

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