2019 has been a banner year for worker rights in California. One important development that might have gotten lost in the shuffle amid all the rest was the passage of AB738 in September. Effective Jan. 1, 2020, home daycare providers will have the right to form, join and participate in unions. Our Los Angeles employment attorneys know this is a right home-based child care providers have been pursuing for almost two decades. In the lead up to Governor Newsom’s signing the bill, there had been five gubernatorial vetoes of similar bills.
As KCRW.com reports, most of the workers in the industry are women of color who own and operate their own businesses. Yet some lawmakers in the past had taken to routinely calling them “babysitters.” These workers comprise roughly half of the state’s 200,000 early childhood education workers
One of the main reasons they wanted to unionize was to gather bargaining power to finally address subsidized payments – both the amount and method. Reimbursement for individual childcare workers is low to start. When the government steps in to subsidize daycare payments for low-income families, it’s below market rate. On top of that, the way these workers are paid is complex and ultimately problematic because it often results in some workers not being paid for months at a time. Earning enough to survive – let alone run a business, pay taxes, etc. – can be very difficult.
The Economic Policy Institute reports that most of the more than 27,000 licensed family child care providers in California barely earn minimum wage. Unions will allow these workers to better negotiate compensation with the government, as well as other entities like health insurance companies, liability insurance companies, etc. Continue reading