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California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights seeks governor’s approval

Although there are thousands of workers in San Diego who benefit from the many protections that are afforded to employees who work for small businesses, municipalities and large corporations, there are still many occupations that lack adequate protections and rights for workers. One group, in particular, that is in need of adequate workplace protections is domestic workers.

The need for domestic employees has grown in the U.S. as more families and professionals hire workers to help them manage their life at home while they work. Adult children need help caring for their aging parents while they work full-time jobs and are supporting their own children. Many families hire nannies to watch after their young children while both parents work outside of the home during the week. Others with demanding work schedules might need to hire someone to take care of household chores and other duties.

Domestic employees provide valuable labor, but lack protections that ensure appropriate meal and rest breaks and overtime pay. Hopefully, conditions for these workers will improve soon. Last week, it was announced that state lawmakers passed the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. The bill is now headed to Governor Jerry Brown’s office. If the governor approves the bill, California would become the second state to ensure basic protections specifically for vulnerable domestic workers. New York is the only other state that has enacted similar labor laws.

The proposed bill includes mandated meal and rest breaks. It also includes overtime pay protections for domestic employees who work more than 40 hours per week. In support of the bill, actress Amy Poehler said in a public service announcement, “Every day so many working women get to do what they do because there are wonderful people in their home helping them.”

Source: Forbes, “This Labor Day, Let’s Celebrate Domestic Workers,” Sept. 3, 2012

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