For Immediate Release: June 16, 2021
Contact: [email protected]
NEW JERSEY — Today, Senator Richard J. Codey, Senator Loretta Weinberg, and Assemblywoman Britnee N. Timberlake announced the introduction of the New Jersey Domestic Workers Bill of Rights in order for local domestic workers to receive protection, support, and safety in the workforce. The bill, introduced on International Domestic Workers Day and backed by the National Domestic Workers Alliance, would include basic legal rights for New Jersey’s 50,000 domestic workers, many of whom are experiencing wage theft, denial of breaks, and lack of sick leave.
Domestic work is one of the most important and fastest growing jobs in the country, yet it is one of the most unprotected and vulnerable work excluded from basic labor rights and protections, many of whom are women of color and immigrants.
In New Jersey alone, domestic workers are subject to wage theft, unstable schedules, lack of access to basic workplace protections, benefits, and more. According to a 2020 Rutgers report:
By introducing and passing this bill in New Jersey, the legislation will bring a solution to many issues that domestic workers face on a day-to-day basis, including:
Johana Ramirez, a domestic worker and member of the National Domestic Workers Alliance based in Union City, states, “I want to tell the NJ legislators that the Domestic Bill of Rights must be approved as soon as possible because this bill will protect the rights of domestic workers in New Jersey. This law will ensure that our existing rights are not violated. It will mandate a written contract between the domestic employer and the domestic worker and end the exclusion of thousands of domestic workers from Health and Safety protections. Those are the reasons for our fights and the necessity to have a domestic bill of rights in New Jersey.”
“Domestic workers deserve the same respect and dignity as any other employee. No one should have to worry about whether or not they will be paid the wages they have earned, or have their safety threatened by their employer. These basic protections are long overdue,” Senator Codey states.
Representative Timberlake adds, “Working class families in New Jersey often struggle to provide food, shelter, and many other basic needs to their families, and many of these families are comprised of individuals who are employed as domestic workers. That is why this legislation is needed. The bill provides domestic workers with access to workplace protections, creates accountability, and ensures safety.”
“Domestic workers have historically been excluded from basic workplace protections that most of us take for granted. There is no excuse for this practice to continue today. I am proud to stand with my fellow legislators and the NDWA in support of the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights,” says Senator Loretta Weinberg.
Additionally, Reina Axalco, a domestic worker and a member of the organization New Labor, says, “I am a resident of Tom Rivers and I worked as a domestic worker at Lakewood, NJ. I urge the legislators to pass the Domestic Bill of Rights because it will protect us since we are 100% unprotected, and it is not just for mothers because we are the pillars of the family.”
To learn more about the New Jersey Domestic Workers Bill of Rights or get involved, visit our New Jersey Domestic Workers Bill of Rights campaign page.