Domestic Workers Fear End of Employee Bill of Rights

In the State of California, being a domestic worker or home healthcare worker is not an easy job.  These employees have not traditionally been fairly compensated, and there are a variety or reasons for this.  One of the reasons is that many domestic workers are women, and, as we all know, there is a long history of women women not being paid the same amount as their male counterparts for doing the exact same work.

bloodpressure1Another of the problems faced by domestic workers is that they are not protected by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which requires employers to pay their workers time and a half after they have worked eight hours in a day or 40 hours in a workweek.  One of the ways to help these domestic workers get around the exemptions in the FSLA is that the legislature in California passed what is known as the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights (AB 241) according to Women’s News

The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights was passed in 2013 and provided overtime pay requirements for the many domestic workers in California.  There are an estimated 300,000 domestic workers in the state, so this is a large number of people who benefit from this bill of rights law.  However, this law comes with what is known as a sunset provision.  A sunset provision, made famous by its use in the USA Patriot Act signed into law following the 9/11 attacks, provides that a law will automatically expire at a certain date unless action is taken to extend the law or make it a permanent law.

In the case of the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, the is set to expire after three years, and that means the protections will automatically end on the first day of January 2017.  However, the California state senate recently passed a bill known as SB 1015.  This bill will make the protections in the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights permanent.   The bill must also be passed before the state assembly and then signed into law by the governor before it can become effective. The law is presently under debate in the state assembly.  This version of the bill would require employers of domestic workers to pay their employees overtime after working nine hours in the same day or more than 45 hours in the same week.  While these protections are somewhat less than the FLSA law, it is important to remember that domestic workers are not provided with any protection under the federal law.  There are, however, some additional protections in the state version of the law being proposed that would require employers to pay employees who live in the home overtime, whereas under the federal FLSA law, live-in workers are not entitled to overtime pay unless they are there as workers of an employment agency.

Hopefully, this law will be signed by the state assembly and passed into law by the governor, but, in the meantime, if you are working as a domestic worker and your employer is violating the current laws of the Domestic Worker bill of rights, you should contact an experienced Orange County employment attorney for a full and confidential consultation.

Contact the employment attorneys at Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Orange County, Riverside and Los Angeles. Call 949.375.4734.

Additional Resources:

Domestic Workers in California Anxiously Eye Expiration Date on Bill of Rights, May 10, 2016, Women’s News, By Halima Kazem

More Blog Entries:

Workers’ Compensation and Employee Misclassification Issues, Jan. 19, 2016, Orange County Farm Worker Rights Lawyer

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