Domestic workers in Massachusetts enjoy tougher protections as law passed last year kicks in

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BOSTON — Domestic workers in Massachusetts can begin enjoying tougher labor protections under a new law set that takes effect Wednesday.

The law requires people who hire nannies, caregivers and other domestic workers in Massachusetts to adhere to established labor standards and other worker protections.

The bill defines domestic workers as individuals who provide in-home services including housekeeping, laundering, cooking and even companionship.

The new law — which was signed by former Gov. Deval Patrick last year — also makes clear that domestic workers are eligible for government services and benefits such as unemployment insurance, workers compensation and minimum wage protections.

The law sets rules for sleep, meal and rest periods, and requires female domestic workers receive at least eight weeks maternity leave if they're full-time employees.

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