Labor and Public Employees Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-5527

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING A DOMESTIC WORKERS BILL OF RIGHTS.

Vote Date:

3/18/2014

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

3/13/2014

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Labor and Public Employees Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

Domestic workers did not feel that their issues were being heard.

SUBSTITUTE LANGUAGE:

Replace all provisions except the one creating a task force.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Senator Martin M. Looney supports the bill. This would establish certain requirements for the employment of domestic rights under the state employment law. Often these workers are paid low wages and work in an unsafe environment.

Sharon Palmer, Commissioner, Department of Labor testified in support of the bill. The bill currently drafted is extremely broad and contains language that addresses concerns but implementing the remedies will require the Department to expend significant resources which are not presently available.

Teresa Younger, Executive Director, Permanent Commission on the Status of Women testified for the bill. Domestic workers have historically received low wages and are excluded from some of the most fundamental labor laws.

Subira Gordon, African American Affairs Commission supports the bill. Domestic workers tend to be women of color and work in abusive conditions. We need to recognize domestic work as labor that deserves protection and respect.

Alok Bhatt, Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission testified in support of the bill. Respect the dignity of home and personal care providers fosters a safe work environment. This bill will bring Connecticut in line with the international community of industrialized nations.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Stephanie Swantek supports the bill. This bill evaluates domestic workers needs and sets a standard to the industry. This is a social justice issue that needs to be supported.

Terry Lee supports the bill. As a homecare worker for 8 years we don't have healthcare or any rights. We should not have to be afraid to stand up for our rights.

Kaitlyn Fydenkevez, Intern, Connecticut Women's Education and Legal Fund supports the bill. The state has created a subclass of employees by excluding domestic workers from the current labor laws. This bill provides a full range of job specific protections depending on their job functions.

Rachel Wilf, All Our Kin testified in support of the bill. I would for a nationally-recognized Connecticut based non-profit that trains family child care providers. We have a shortage of quality child care providers. Domestic workers are often isolated, work long hours and develop close emotional ties with their clients and employers which makes it difficult for them to advocate for themselves as employees.

Beverly Brakeman, UAW proudly supports the bill. This bill will close loopholes in current labor laws that left domestic workers unprotected.

Carla Goyes submitted testimony in support of the bill. Caring for someone's child or elder is not a job but a contribution to the world. A written contract at the beginning of a job would allow these workers to have a clear and respectful with their employers.

Gabrielle Abouzeide, Intern, Sacred Heart University submitted testimony in support of the bill. As a long time domestic worker and a social work undergrad I've come to learn about the domestic worker. This bill is rooted in the principal of compassion and dignity.

James Bhandary-Alexander New Haven Legal Assistance Association supports the bill. The current statue does not include domestic workers as employees and they are not entitled to all the rights stated as an employee in the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

Kathryn Pierce supports the bill. As a part-time nanny for eight years I was lucky to not be underpaid and was not taken advantage of but this is not the case with other domestic workers. We need a law to back up the rights of domestic workers.

Clarie Simonich, student, Yale Law School submitted testimony for the bill. Domestic workers often live their lives out of the public eye and are at risk of being exploited by their employers.

Megan Vesel, Deputy Director, Brazilian Immigrant Center supports the bill. Domestic workers are invisible and work in an unregulated industry. Live in domestic workers are the most vulnerable but this bill will clarify their responsibilities and give them the protection they need.

Dorothy Tegeler, Hand in Hand; The Domestic Employers Network testified strongly for the bill. The bill recognizes the domestic workers inviolability and the need for them to be protected.

Ester Sanches Naek testified in support or the bill. Having been a domestic worker and now employing domestic workers I know that this is not a job that young people do but one that is held mostly by women of color in order to make a living and support their families. All workers must be protected under the law in Connecticut.

Jennifer Klein, Professor, Yale University testified for the bill. As the author of two books on Home Health Workers and numerous articles this bill is long overdue. This occupation has a long history of exploitation and abuse. The people who hire these domestic workers need to take responsibility for what it means to have their home be a workplace.

Alfreda Adamczyk submitted testimony in support. No worker should have to suffer humiliation or injury on the job.

Lori Pelletier, Executive Secretary-Treasurer, CT AFLCIO submitted testimony supporting the bill. Work location should not determine whether a worker is protected in their occupation.

Joelle Fishman, New Haven Peoples Center, testified for the bill. Domestic workers are subjected to many abuses including hours worked, health and poor pay. Connecticut needs to step forward with the domestic workers bill of rights.

Sarah Leberstein, National Employment Law Project submitted testimony supporting the bill. Domestic workers are subjected to numerous exemptions from state and federal workplace protections. The Fair Labor Standards Act excludes domestic workers. This will expire in January 2015 but Connecticut needs to address the unfair exclusion of domestic workers now.

Petra Morales testified in support of the bill. I worked as a domestic in the past and know how important it is to know your rights.

Lorna Barrows testified for the bill. I have been employed as a domestic worker for many years. In my current position I have a written job description that explains my duties. This keeps myself and my employer on the same page.

Mimi DeVerniero testified in support of the bill. As a homecare worker we do everything for our clients but do deserve basic workplace rights.

Noreen Noll supports the bill. The bill extends the same state protections to domestic workers that other employees are entitled to. Our communities, domestic workers and their families and the state will benefit from this bill.

Alicia Knosman, International Institute of Connecticut submitted testimony in favor of the bill. Domestic workers sometimes become domestic servitude when the employer uses force, fraud and or coercion to maintain control over the worker. The home remains a place where the labor laws do not apply this needs to change.

Daniel Bariales submitted a Community Letter of Support.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

John Shulansky, Elders Choice of Connecticut does not support the bill. This bill has serious impacts on a significant elderly population. The bill also is in direct conflict to changes in the US Department of Fair Labor Standards Act.

Reported by: Pamela Bianca

03/31/2014