Paid care workers – like nannies, home health attendants, and housecleaners – provide essential work to many families in our city, but they often lack the support they need to resolve workplace challenges and have no human resources department to turn to for help.
In fact, Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) research found that more than half of the city’s paid care workforce — the majority of whom are immigrants and women of color — have experienced wage theft, safe and sick leave violations, harassment, discrimination, and fear of retaliation from their employers if they report illegal behavior.
At DCWP, we are committed to defending the rights of paid care workers, making sure they understand their rights as workers and know that they can turn to us for help to resolve workplace issues. These workers deserve to be treated with respect for their hard work and have access to the resources they need to thrive.
That is why, on July 29, DCWP partnered with community organizations serving these workers to host an inaugural Paid Care Open House, providing resources, training, and networking opportunities to more than a hundred domestic workers.
Empowering workers begins with meeting them where they are, and as a woman whose first language is not English and who did not grow up in New York City, I am proud that DCWP is committed to partnering with organizations to educate vulnerable workforces on their rights in the languages they speak.
DCWP enforces key worker protections for paid care workers, like the Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law, and investigates and refers complaints to address workplace violations at the local, state, and federal levels. The City also offers the Domestic Worker Mediation Program, which helps domestic workers and their employers resolve workplace issues in a respectful, confidential, and free way without going to court.
Domestic workers can file a complaint online, visit nyc.gov/workers or call 311 if they believe their rights have been violated. Complaints can be filed anonymously. It is illegal for employers to retaliate against employees for filing complaints.
Vilda Vera Mayuga is the Commissioner for the NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP). Learn more about DCWP’s Office of Labor Policy & Standards—NYC’s central resource for workers—at nyc.gov/workers.