Gov. David Paterson has signed into law legislation protecting domestic workers, granting bereavement and funeral leave rights to same-sex partners and ensuring fair play in the construction industry.
• The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, which takes effect Nov. 29, provides that persons “employed in a home or residence for the purpose of caring for a child, serving as a companion for a sick, convalescing or elderly person, housekeeping, or for any other domestic service purpose” are eligible for overtime pay after 40 hours of work, one day of rest every seven days, three paid days of rest annually after one year of work and protection from sexual or racial harassment.
• Under law A.2563-A, employers that provide leave for the death of an employee’s child, spouse, parent or other relative of the spouse must now also provide such leave for committed same-sex partners, effective Oct. 29. The new law defines committed same-sex partners as “those who are financially and emotionally interdependent in a manner commonly presumed of spouses.”
• The Construction Industry Fair Play Act, also effective Oct. 29, creates a presumption that any person performing services for a construction contractor is an employee, not an independent contractor. To overcome that presumption, a construction company must show the alleged independent contractor is free from control and direction in performing the job, the service is performed outside the usual course of business and the individual is engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession or business. The law also sets civil and criminal penalties for construction industry employers that willfully misclassify employees.
Advice: If you think your company or organization is covered by these new laws, check with your attorney right away.