Domestic workers in New York now enjoy more protection under a new state law that secures their right to overtime pay, at least one day off a week and options for pursuing sexual and racial harassment complaints. Domestic workers had been excluded from many of the rights granted to other employees by legislation enacted in the past, according to Gov. David Paterson's office.

Provisions in the new law include:

• The right to overtime pay at time and a half after 40 hours of work in a week, or 44 hours for in-home workers;
• A day of rest every seven days, or overtime pay if it is waived;
• Three paid days of rest annually after one year of work;
• The removal of the domestic workers exemption from the Human Rights Law, and the creation of a special cause of action for domestic workers who suffer sexual or racial harassment;
• The extension of statutory disability benefits to domestic workers, to the same degree as other workers; and
• A study by the state's Commissioner of Labor on the practicality of extending collective bargaining rights to domestic workers.

"Today we correct an historic injustice by granting those who care for the elderly, raise our children and clean our homes the same essential rights to which all workers should be entitled," Paterson said in a statement. The bill is the first of its kind in the nation, Paterson said. "I profoundly hope that New York's efforts in this area will serve as a national model and remove the exclusions which have wrongly applied to this class of workers for too long."

Read Paterson's entire statement.