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New law gives rights to domestic workers

The United States is a land of laws, which, for the most part, govern how individuals behave in society. But like any rule, the law is full of loopholes, special circumstances and gray areas that people exploit to their benefit. This has allowed people to entrap and enslave others, all under the guise of giving them a job. One career of prominence that is ripe with the abuse and misuse of people is that of domestic workers. Not only must domestic workers make do with low wages and high levels of work, they must do so in sometimes uncomfortable and degrading situations.

In an attempt to change the landscape for domestic workers, the Massachusetts legislature has given final approval and sent to the governor a law that would enact a bill of rights for domestic workers. The law would create a basic set of standards that will apply to all domestic workers. Since domestic workers run the gamut from nannies to home companions, the change will have an effect on hundreds, if not thousands, of households.

The proposed law, which was passed by an overwhelming majority in the House, creates a definition for domestic workers. Those who fall under definition set forth in the bill will be eligible for government services such as workers compensation and minimum wage protections. The bill also set rules for domestic workers in terms of time off, as well as sleep and meals. Not only does the bill give domestic workers recourse for workplace injuries, but allows them new civil remedies for behaviors previously not specifically prohibited.

Every job is important, whether to the individuals receiving the service or to society as a whole. At the very least, the law should protect all workers equally, regardless of their work titles.

Source: Daily Journal, Massachusetts lawmakers pass "bill of rights" for nannies, caregivers, other domestic workers Associated Press, June 18, 2014

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