Kenney signs domestic workers bill of rights to protect most vulnerable

Pat Loeb
November 30, 2019 - 4:00 am
Mayor Jim Kenney signs domestic workers bill of rights.

Courtesy of Tom McDonald

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A new law that takes effect next May will provide protection for some of Philadelphia's most vulnerable workers: nannies, maids and other domestic employees. Mayor Jim Kenney signed the bill into law last week.

Betania Sheppard often told her story in the nearly year-long effort to pass what's known as Philadelphia's Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. On Tuesday, she told it again, but this time it was with a note of triumph over the conditions she's endured.

“I have been paid very little, and some employers have not paid me the money that was promised me,” she said through a translator. “When I asked them to pay the money that was owed to me, I was screamed at and insulted.”

Among the provisions in the new law is the right to a contract, notice of termination, leave time, meal and rest breaks and protections unique to the positions the workers hold — prohibiting the holding of documents or monitoring private communications. 

Mayor Kenney called it a proud moment for the city.

“And we hope that this will be a turning point for many,” he said.