California Considering Overtime, Other Wage Benefits For Nannies

Article Update:

Nannies now paid overtime since a bill authorizing required overtime was signed into law in 2013.

Domestic workers want more benefits, including overtime wages. California and several other states are listening. New York implemented overtime and time-off requirements in 2010. President Barack Obama proposed in December that wages and overtime be required for household workers who care for the elderly and disabled. Now, California is pushing for similar laws.

Democratic State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano proposed providing the same employment benefits that most laborers receive - paid overtime, time off and meal and rest periods - to 200,000 nannies. The move is an effort to reduce potentially exploitative workplaces and provide healthy labor standards for in-home, domestic care workers.

Wage and Hour Issues Drive the Proposed California Law

A portion of domestic workers already receive overtime and meal and rest breaks in California. For those who do not, that's where Ammiano's bill comes in to close the loop. Like President Obama's proposal, the bill would include "personal attendants" and individuals who care for the elderly and disabled. Caretakers of children would also receive benefits under the measure.

Under the proposal, named the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights, employees would be entitled to time-and-a-half wages for all hours worked in excess of eight hours per day and 40 per week. Domestic workers would receive a 30-minute meal break following every five hours of work and two 10-minute rest breaks for every eight hours on the job.

Live-in workers would receive a day off after five straight days of work. The measure would also require that anyone on duty for 24 hours at a time gets eight consecutive hours off for sleep.

Opponents See Burdens, Expense to Employers

Critics see the proposal as death sentence to affordable hired care. Employers would be required to maintain accurate time cards and log time-off, something opponents to the employment law find burdensome, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Failure to adhere to any of the provisions would result in a $50 fine paid to the employee for each day a violation of an employment practice occurred. On top of the expense for those in need of domestic services, opponents of the measure worry about the cost and the expense to an already cash-strapped state. The California bill passed the Assembly last summer, but stalled in the state Senate because legislators estimated domestic worker complaints could cost California at least $385,000 per year to investigate.

Overtime and wage and hours issues can be complicated. Employers and employees alike often have questions about their rights to overtime, meal breaks and vacation days. If you have wage and hour questions, contact a knowledgeable California employment law attorney.