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Glossary of WCB Terms

Domestic Workers


What is a domestic worker?

A domestic worker is someone employed and paid by a single person or a couple in a domestic partnership within their private household.

Examples of Domestic Workers

Domestic workers can perform a variety of household services for an individual or a family. The following list provides several examples of domestic workers. It is important to note that domestics must be providing household services. Employees working out of a home office would not be considered a domestic simply because they work in your home.

Do I need to have workers’ compensation insurance?

Each individual domestic who works 40 or more hours per week for the same employer must be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. The hours counted toward the 40 hour limit include all hours on premises. Some domestic workers live within the household where they work. A "live-in" domestic worker, means they live on the household’s premises. Live in domestics are considered to be working more than 40 hours per week regardless of set hours they may have. Another example of reaching the 40 or more hour limit would be a Nanny or House Sitter who stays over night. If you hire a domestic to be in your home from 6:00pm Friday – 6:00pm Sunday, this would be 48 hours of work and a policy would be required. Workers’ Compensation Insurance is required from the first day of the first week in which a domestic will be working 40 or more hours or living on the premises.

Do I need to have workers’ compensation insurance?

Workers’ compensation insurance is NOT required IF the domestic workers in a private household individually work less than 40 hours per week for that household and do not live on premises. This is not an aggregate accumulation of hours, a household may have several domestics each working only 30 hours per week and will not be required to obtain New York State Workers’ Compensation Insurance. However, many still choose to obtain a voluntary policy. This policy will protect both the employer and domestic worker should a work related illness or injury occur.

Do I need to have New York State Disability Benefits Insurance?

Each individual domestic who works 40 or more hours per week for the same employer must be covered by disability benefits insurance. The hours counted toward the 40 hour limit include all hours on premises. Some domestic workers live within the household where they work. A "live-in" domestic worker, means they live on the household’s premises. Live in domestics are considered to be working more than 40 hours per week regardless of set hours they may have. Another example of reaching the 40 or more hour limit would be a Nanny or House Sitter who stays over night. If you hire a domestic to be in your home from 6:00pm Friday – 6:00pm Sunday, this would be 48 hours of work and a policy would be required. Disability Benefits Insurance is required for domestics 4 weeks after the 30th day of employment. However the 1st day of employment does not begin until the 1st day of the 1st week in which the domestic is working 40 hours or more or begins living on premises.

Disability Benefits insurance is NOT required IF the domestic workers in a private household individually work less than 40 hours per week for that household and do not live on premises. This is not an aggregate accumulation of hours, a household may have several domestics each working only 30 hours per week and will not be required to obtain New York State Disability Benefits Insurance. However, many still choose to obtain a voluntary policy. This policy will protect both the employer and domestic worker should an off the job illness or injury occur. You can obtain forms for Voluntary Coverage by contacting a carrier authorized to write New York State Disability Benefits Insurance.

Can I use my homeowners insurance?

Please note that the workers’ compensation insurance rider of a homeowner’s insurance policy does not cover any domestic employees for workers’ compensation benefits nor does it cover people working for home-based businesses.

For example, this rider could cover contractors that are deemed employees under the WCL and working a total of less than 40 hours a week in or around a one, two, three or four family owner occupied residence. This is total hours for the employment — for example four individuals working 10 hours per week is equal to 40 hours. Any such employment that equals or exceeds 40 hours per week is not covered by the homeowner’s insurance rider.

Also note that contractors performing minor repairs or painting in or around a one family owner occupied residence are not employees under the WCL.

Can I use my business’ insurance policies?

Not only does your carrier not cover domestic claims under your business policy, but not having the proper coverage could lead to fines and penalties.

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