House Approves Bill to Guarantee Domestic Workers’ Rights
SAN JUAN – The Puerto Rico House of Representatives has passed a measure authored by Rep. Yashira Lebrón, Lourdes Ramos and María Milagros Charbonier creating the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, which would grant these rights enjoyed by labor unions and clarifies the applicability of the laws governing them.
Ramos reacted enthusiastically to the legislative approval, which in her view does justice to domestic workers, mostly Dominicans who work six days a week and do not receive fringe benefits that are mandatory for other employees.
House Bill 2383 received the endorsement of the Labor and Justice departments, as well as of the Women’s Advocate Office and the Ombudsman, through the Small Business Advocate’s Office.
The measure stipulates that domestic workers may demand a contract signed between the parties and be guaranteed a minimum wage, overtime pay, days off, no excessive work hours, rest periods and payment of vacation days and sick leave.
Most of these workers are women, heads of households and the sole breadwinner in the household. The legislation would also allow these workers to eventually receive benefits when unfit for work.
A report notes that these workers, when working in private homes, lack adequate oversight for the prevention of labor rights violation that sometimes verge on human rights violations.
The measure’s approval also intends to restrict the underground economy and reduce tax evasion.