New statewide campaign emphasizes domestic workers’ rights

Campaign signage on TheBus (Photo: Office of the Governor)
Campaign signage on TheBus (Photo: Office of the Governor)

Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced Monday the launch of a statewide campaign to promote new protections for domestic service workers.

Domestic Workers Have Rights is a multilingual public education campaign that highlights the right by Hawaii law to minimum wage and overtime, as well as protection against discrimination while on the job.

Signed by Gov. Abercrombie last year, Act 248, Session Laws of Hawaii 2013, provides for minimum wage, overtime, discrimination, and harassment protections for domestic workers. Prior to Act 248, domestic workers were excluded from these basic protections of state wage and hour and fair employment laws afforded to others.

“This law establishes long-overdue equity for Hawaii’s domestic workers; Hawaii is the second state to pass laws that protect domestic workers from discrimination at work and provide overtime and minimum wage protections that all workers deserve,” said Gov. Abercrombie. “The goal of the ‘Domestic Workers Have Rights’ public education campaign is to raise awareness because these new protections are meaningless if workers and their employers do not know about them.”

Mila Kaahanui, executive director of the Office of Community Services (OCS), added: “Workers protected under this law include housekeepers, childcare workers, caretakers, maids, and gardeners among others that work in the home of their employers. These workers are often hidden from view and many may have limited English proficiency.”

For more information about the new laws and the Domestic Workers Have Rights campaign, click here.

Announcement at the State Capitol
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