NY Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Signed into Law

First off, thanks to Kathy Webb for breaking the story.  Her blog is the best in the business. 

The bill pass but with some MAJOR changes.  All the things that got so many people worked up were deleted.  No health insurance, no 14 day notice period for termination, no 7 paid sick days a year.  Instead they got 3 paid days (sick, personal, whatever) after one year employment, 1 required day off a week, overtime (which they already had in NY) and anti-discrimination coverage (was that missing before?). 

The thing I find most interesting about the bill is “The NY Commissioner of Labor is directed to report to the governor, the speaker of the assembly and the temporary president of the senate before November 1, 2010 on the feasibility and practicality of allowing domestic workers to organize for purposes of collective bargaining.”

Now that could have a huge impact on our industry overall.  Imagine if nannies could come together and set real workplace guidelines for wages, hours and benefits.  I want to be on that bandwagon because I think the first stop would be an across the board credential. 

I have very mixed feelings about this outcome.  I think nannies, along with every other worker in this country, deserve health insurance, notice before firing, and paid sick days.  However I don’t feel that nannies deserve special treatment (as the law state) “because domestic workers care for the most important elements of their employers’ lives, their families and homes.”

So, do you think this bill was worth all the effort?  Do you think it’s a victory for nannies or the Domestic Workers group in NY?  Do you think it will make any real world impact?

2 responses to this post.

  1. Two sentences really stuck out –

    Imagine if nannies could come together and set real workplace guidelines for wages, hours and benefits. I want to be on that bandwagon because I think the first stop would be an across the board credential.

    I have been on the employment hunt this past month, so I have to discuss what it means for me to be nanny. Why I wasn’t the wages, benefits, and perks I do. I have talked about legalities and payroll companies. Contracts and work agreements. And if a parent interviewing me does google me they will some pretty passionate stances I have taken in the past few months regarding our industry.

    Because I have worked in licensed childcare centers, I really do wish we are licensed too. How can this not add credibility to our profession? Nannies discuss ways to separate the real nannies from the rest, those that see this as a career and not a paycheck.

    We know the arguments, oh licensing means figuring out how to pay for it, determine a staff to verify things etc. This is where I think okay then let’s do what the childcare workers have to do, we get CDAs through the Council of Profession Recognition. As you know, but for the benefit others reading this

    Candidates seeking to apply for CDA assessment must meet the following eligibility requirements:
    • Be 18 years of age or older
    • Hold a high school diploma or GED
    • Have 480 hours of experience working with children within the past five years
    • Have 120 clock hours of formal child care education within the past five years.

    When I learned of NANC credential tiers, and determined which level I should be at I realized I needed to complete some requirements to be at that tier.

    Initially I thought OMG, this will take awhile. And I was wrong, so wrong.
    As I opened my mouth on how easy it is to do this I would hear complaints from naysayers saying we don’t have time, we don’t have the money, etc. Thus, I have shared places to go online to do things for free or inexpensively, or out in communities like Lakeshore Learning Stores, DCFS workshops, etc.

    Parents in interviews will ask me why the long list of training, and I’ll say now I check out programs before I will share a link with other nannies thus my list of clock hours earned in the past year has grown to be over 300+ and I have only spent $500. That has been less than a weeks salary for me. But in making this investment, I have added soooo much to my earning potential now.

    Still some naysayer nannies will say, “What does it matter to have all that training? Some of us work for bosses who don’t care.” The teacher in me gets very annoyed by that comment. I didn’t choose to work with children because I wanted their parents to care. I became a teacher because I care about the overall wellbeing of children. This is the mark of a good nanny too. A good nanny should be in this profession not for the approval of their bosses, but because they believe they can be a good caregiver to children and make a difference for the better in child’s life.

    When I began this journey to earn clock hours, I did not realize how much growth I could have at this point in my career. I had these philosophies on nutrition, education, discipline, etc. and seemed pretty set in those principles. But I have learned so much more about the ways children develop, how different education theories can be applied to children based on their unique life that id molded from their home life, the community they are in, the culture they are from, their personalities and learning abilities. Now I find all of these wonderful essays on my portfolio need to just be re tooled and maybe a few even tossed out.
    Education is a huge key to empowering nannies. We don’t have to be “just the nannies” we can come together and then go legislators and say we want reforms we raised our standards now it’s time for you to raise employment standards for us. Oh, and while you are at increase childcare tax credits for working parents.
    Once in awhile I will provide some answer to a parent question about what can nannies do with their young child. I will give my teacher answers. So often another parent will come on and ask “How do we find nannies like you?” or “How much do make?” or “Lol – Can you be poached?” The thing is while I ask for a nice salary, benefits, etc. I know I am not the highest paid nanny out there, far from it.

    I also know that there are some nanny agencies in this country that will not add you to their list of candidates unless you have some formal training related to education, psychology, parks and recreation. Or with many others you go to the top of the list even if you have the associates or CDA.

    Why should nannies fight credentialing if this is the trend that is developing?

    Yes, it does take a little time and money to get a CDA or some license, but this says to parents I want to be doing this job so much and so well that I have made this investment in myself. Parents have degrees themselves, so they get this. The ones that matter and will be better bosses respect this too.

    Reply

  2. I have a work agreement-and know what the norm is in the nanny industry. Which is 5 paid vacation days- and any days a family does not need the nanny to come. 8-10 paid holidays. 5 paid sick days. And in your nanny/family work agreement, you can spell out any other arrangements. I.e., health insurance, how much notice each party is required to give if they’d like to end the relationship, etc.
    As for if the nannies who are members of the DWU- I think it will be good for them-
    as a starting point- as I imagine it’s much more than what most been receiving in the past. However, if they would be paid legally and stand up for themselves and not let themselves be taken advantage of- and put a nanny/family work agreement into place-they could have gotton those things long ago.

    Reply

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