Kenney signs domestic workers bill of rights to protect most vulnerable

Mayor Jim Kenney signs domestic workers bill of rights.
Photo credit Courtesy of Tom McDonald
By KYW Newsradio 1060
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.