Last week Assembly Bill 889 cleared a California State Senate Committee, advancing it one step closer to becoming state law.  The bill, authored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D – San Francisco), seeks to extend most of California’s strict wage and hour regulations to domestic employees working in private homes.  While the bill excludes babysitters under the age of 18, it extends California wage and hour protections to babysitters over the age of 18 as well as any other housekeeper, nanny, caregiver or other domestic worker.

Should the bill become law individual Californians and California families who employ the services of these domestic workers will be required to follow the same overbearing regulations that currently plague California’s small and large businesses.  Specifically, absent the applicability of narrow and limited exceptions, individuals/families using domestic services from babysitting to adult caregiving and transportation to housekeeping will, among other mandates, be required to:

  • Pay their domestic workers in accordance with California overtime rules including time and half for over 8 hours in a day; ·
  • Provide duty-free meal periods for domestic workers working over 5 hours in a day; ·        
  • Permit paid rest periods for domestic workers working over 3 ½ hours in a day; ·       
  • Maintain and record the actual start and end time for all work periods (including meal periods);
  • Provide detailed and regular itemized pay check statements detailing hours of work, rates of pay and deductions; and
  • Comply with certain notice posting and record keeping requirements.

Above and beyond the regular requirements of California law, the bill imposes a new and special requirement that individuals/families employing domestic workers provide them specific food items of their worker’s choosing if meals are part of the worker’s compensation.  The bill also explicitly provides domestic workers the protections of California’s Workers Compensation System and requires individuals/families employing the services of domestic workers to comply with the applicable workers compensation laws. 

In addition to any other damages and attorney’s fees resulting from an individual/families’ failure to comply with California’s complex wage and hour laws, the bill imposes a new $50 penalty for each day an individual/family violates the bill’s mandates.

The bill now moves onto the full California State Senate for consideration. In unrelated news, California’s unemployment rate is amongst the highest in the nation as businesses find friendlier climates in neighboring states.