By Derrick DePledge
State agencies, community activists and service providers launched a public awareness campaign Tuesday to spread the word that domestic workers are now protected by the state's labor and civil rights laws.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed the Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights into law last year, and stakeholders have joined forces to make sure those whom the law aims to protect are aware of their new rights.
Domestic workers -- nannies, housekeepers, cooks, gardeners, and more -- are now entitled to be paid at least the state minimum wage and received overtime pay, among other protections afforded to the general labor force, regardless of their immigration status. Lawmakers were unsuccessful, however, in protecting in-home help from discrimination in hiring and firing.
The state's first lady, Nancie Caraway, advocated for the bill last year and convened a working group shortly after its enactment to see her efforts through to implementation.
“This education campaign is about peace and justice in the home," Caraway said in a news release. "It’s about showing the humanity of a long devalued kind of work."
Hawaii was only the second state, along with New York, to extend its labor law to domestic workers.