On Tuesday, New Jersey became the first state to mandate that hotels provide their room cleaners with wearable “panic buttons.” The devices, which call for help, aim to protect workers from sexual harassment and other dangers.
In September, major hotel brands — including Marriott, Hilton, and Hyatt — agreed to provide the buttons to their employees after hotel workers with the union Unite Here held protests across the country calling for panic buttons and other safety measures.
The law applies to hotels with 100 rooms or more, which includes all nine Atlantic City casino hotels, and will take effect in January.
Local governments have begun passing worker-protection laws where the federal government has not. In January, New Jersey said it would raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024. Last year, New Jersey’s earned sick leave law went into effect, mandating paid sick days. Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, legislators have passed laws like “Fair Workweek” scheduling for service workers and “just-cause” prevention of unfair firings for parking lot workers.