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Babysitters' Bill Outrages Some California Parents

babysitter

California bill would require parents to provide more benefits to babysitter.

No more working outside the home or going out to dinner for you, moms!  Not unless you’re prepared to give your babysitter an itemized pay stub, offer her breaks every few hours, and help pay for her next holiday trip.

A new bill in the California legislature, AB 889, would require parents to provide workers’ compensation benefits, scheduled rest and meal breaks, and paid vacation time for babysitters and nannies.

The bill’s author, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), argues that AB 889 is needed to protect the rights of domestic workers.  In a released statement he explained, “It’s about extending the same basic labor protections that all other California workers already have to the 200,000 domestic workers who provide care to our disabled and elderly.”  It is intended to prevent the abuses of the past for those domestic workers who have been underpaid, overworked and poorly treated.

Since the bill applies to nannies, housekeepers and caregivers, though, opponents argue that the language is too broad and would affect even parents who hire babysitters.

In his local newspaper The Union, California State Senator Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) argues:

“Under AB 889, household ‘employers’ (aka ‘parents’) who hire a babysitter on a Friday night will be legally obligated to pay at least minimum wage to any sitter over the age of 18 (unless it is a family member), provide a substitute caregiver every two hours to cover rest and meal breaks, in addition to workers’ compensation coverage, overtime pay, and a meticulously calculated timecard/paycheck.

Failure to abide by any of these provisions may result in a legal cause of action against the employer including cumulative penalties, attorneys’ fees, legal costs and expenses associated with hiring expert witnesses, an unprecedented measure of legal recourse provided no other class of workers from agricultural laborers to garment manufacturers.”

Joe Mathews, who writes the PropZero blog for NBC Bay Area, adds that while he agrees abuse of domestic workers is a real problem in California, ” … such a law — which is unlikely to be followed or enforced — doesn’t really do anything about that problem.”

AB 889, which had already been passed by the California Assembly, was passed by the California Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee this summer and now moves on to California’s Senate Appropriations Committee.

A Stand-Up Momedy: “I’m up all night without getting paid for it!”

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