By: The Negros Times
As a result of recent actions by local and state authorities, the Philippine Consulate General (PCG) in New York has welcomed the extended protection that Filipinos and other domestic workers who reside or work in New York City would now have.
In a statement, Consul General Elmer G. Cato said, "The Philippine Consulate General appreciates these excellent developments that will increase employment security and enhance work benefits of kababayan employed in the domestic service business."
The Consul General was referring to two bills passed into law last year by New York Governor Kathleen Hochul and then-Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City.
Domestic workers are legally considered "employees" for all intents and purposes under the New York State Human Rights Law, according to a landmark law signed by Governor Hochul on December 31, 2021, while Intro 39, signed by then-Mayor Bill de Blasio on August 25, 2021, extends anti-discrimination protections to domestic workers in New York City.
Domestic workers are those who work as housekeepers, nannies, home healthcare aides, or other similar roles in a home or residence. To be classified as a domestic worker, one does not have to reside with their employer.
"Because domestic employees have traditionally worked in the shadow economy, they are particularly exposed to abuse and harassment," stated Consul General Cato. “Codifying protections for domestic workers will significantly empower them and hopefully pave the way for more legal measures to improve the lives of domestic workers.” he continued.
The important expansion of the human rights law provides explicit protection for a domestic worker, who is frequently the employer's sole employee; protection against discrimination and harassment in hiring, firing, and the terms and conditions of employment with respect to reasonable accommodations and retaliation; and the ability to seek redress in the same way as most other workers protected by the law.
While city employers of domestic workers must comply with the statute by March 12, 2022, statewide safeguards are already in place.