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Connecticut Law Granting Protections to Domestic Workers Clears Legislature

June 9, 2015

Legislation that would give certain basic labor protections to Connecticut domestic workers, including home care workers, has passed the state legislature and is awaiting a signature from Gov. Dannel Malloy (D).

The bill, S.B. 446, passed the Senate by a vote of 33 to 3 on May 29, and the House by a 130-14 vote on June 2, the day before the Connecticut General Assembly adjourned for the year.

Currently, Connecticut law excludes people who work “in the domestic service of any person” from a host of labor protections, including:

  • coverage under the state’s minimum wage,
  • eligibility for paid sick days and time-and-a-half overtime pay, and
  • the ability to bring sexual harassment or discrimination complaints against their employer.

S.B. 446 only addresses the latter exemption; if signed, it will allow domestic workers to file sexual harassment and discrimination complaints with the state Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.

As originally written, the bill would have extended minimum wage, overtime pay, and paid sick leave to domestic workers, but those provisions were stripped from the bill during the lawmaking process.

Nevertheless, domestic workers and their advocates hailed the bill as a triumph.

Iame Manucci, a former housekeeper, told the CT Mirror that bill would assure domestic workers that “that you have the dignity every other worker has, that you exist — by law.”

— by Matthew Ozga

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