Every now and then San Diego residents may dream about what it would be like to not have to work. But reality hits and folks realize that they must continue working in order to support their families, save for retirement and afford medical expenses.
In addition to earning an income and having health insurance, employees may also have other benefits that help them get through their working days. Employees may have lunch breaks, paid sick days and paid vacation days. Some workplaces offer other benefits such as employee discounts at certain retail locations or tuition reimbursement programs for folks who want to earn higher academic degrees.
Although many employees may be able to take advantage of these types of benefits in California, there are other groups of employees who are still fighting for basic workplace rights. In California, domestic workers lack basic labor protections such as mandated meal and rest breaks. There are also no laws to protect domestic workers when it comes to working overtime.
Domestic employees believe that they should have basic rights like other workers, and even though laws were not passed last year to begin protecting domestic workers in the state, domestic workers are still pushing for changes to be made.
Last week, dozens of domestic workers gathered in downtown Los Angeles to show their support and desire for basic labor rights in California. They discussed some of the hardships they face, including not being paid for sick days, being paid below the minimum wage, not receiving medical benefits, and working long shifts without proper breaks or being paid overtime wages.
In an effort to provide domestic workers with basic labor protections, lawmakers have been pushing to pass the California Domestic Worker Bill of Rights. The bill was shot down last year by Gov. Jerry Brown, but it is being re-introduced this year after making some revisions. Lawmakers are still drafting the bill, but the bill will focus on addressing the following protections:
- Overtime pay
- Paid sick days
- Meal and rest breaks
- Sleep breaks
- Use of kitchen facilities
- Workers' compensation
Currently, New York is the only state that offers domestic workers basic labor protections.
Source: The Huffington Post, "Domestic Workers Bill In California Brings Housekeepers & Nannies To The Streets," Kathleen Miles, March 7, 2013
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