U.S. Markets closed

Nat'l group praises Hawaii on domestic workers

HONOLULU (AP) -- A national organization representing local groups of nannies, housekeepers and other domestic workers is praising Hawaii's Legislature for passing a bill to create a domestic workers bill of rights.

The director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Ai-jen Poo, said Wednesday the group is pushing to pass similar bills in other states. Hawaii would be the second state after New York with protections on wages and other issues if Gov. Neil Abercrombie signs the bill.

"This is part of a growing wave to address the injustices of the past and support today's workforce," Poo said.

The bill passed the House and Senate on Tuesday with little opposition in the heavily Democratic chambers. It covers cooks, waiters, butlers, housekeepers and other workers, including babysitters in some cases.

The bill makes it illegal to discriminate against anyone employed as a domestic worker based on race, gender, sexual orientation and other factors.

Rep. Roy Takumi, a Democrat from Pearl City, said in a statement that the bill offers a basic level of protection extended to other workers.

"It shows that as a community, we value justice and fairness for everyone," he said.

Republican Sen. Sam Slom voted against the bill in the Senate, along with six members in the House.