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California’s “Babysitter Bill”

We here at Care4hire.com try not to get entangled in political debates of the day.  However, the State of California is considering passing legislation that affects childcare providers, and we think the bill merits our (and your) attention.

Under AB 889, household employers (i.e., parents) who hire a babysitter would be legally obligated to pay at least minimum wage to any sitter over the age of 18 (unless the sitter is a family member); provide a substitute caregiver every two hours to cover rest and meal breaks; and provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage, overtime pay, and a precise timecard and paycheck.

We support the minimum wage provision of this legislative bill.  Many families are already paying at least that much . . . even without the legislation.

The provision of rest and meal breaks (and the resultant substitute caregivers) sounds good.  Surely all employees should have rest and meal breaks.  However, it is impractical if not utterly unworkable in the context of a babysitter’s work.  Are parents supposed to come home from their own job every two hours to spell off the baby sitter?  In the alternative, if parents were to hire a substitute caregiver, what babysitter would accept a job in which s/he works only a few minutes every two hours?  This provision of AB889 would virtually bring legal employment of babysitters to a screeching halt in California.

We do not support the workers’ compensation insurance coverage provision of this legislative bill.  Anecdotally, it would appear that babysitters do not have a high incidence of “workplace” injuries that would be OSHA-recordable.  For minor scrapes, etc., bandages and antibiotic cream usually address the issue.  On those rare occasions when something more serious happens, the household employer’s homeowner’s insurance may cover the costs associated with the injury.  Even if it does not, however, we believe these incidents to be rare enough not to warrant legislation.

We support the overtime pay, timecard, and paycheck provisions of this legislative bill.  Many families are already following these practices . . . even without the legislation.

Only time will tell what the California legislature will do.  What are your thoughts?

5 comments to California’s “Babysitter Bill”

  • A2GIRL

    This bill is not just for babysitter’s, it’s a stupid name for the bill, it’s meant for nannies as well, like myself. One of the children I nanny for injured me seriously, he gave me a concussion, there were 2 trips to the ER, a CAT scan and medications. The parents never once offered to pay for any of it, even though the mother witnessed her son slam my head. I work only part time, there was no workman’s comp, they wouldn’t pay the bills, so I had to apply for free care from Kaiser. These people are rich, they were at fault, and still I was left with the bill. We needs our rights protected.

  • I agree, nanny or anyone who cares for children should be notice, when I went to collect my employment I was told they don’t reconize nanny as a job, the families took taxes out so it is a job to be reconized, when I went to buy a car it was the same, as a nanny we need to get paid atleast minimum wage, of course taxes taken out, if we get hurt while working we as nannies should be protected, a contract should to be reconized, I have signed contracts and which meant nothing, if the family wanted to let you go they give you no notice even when the contract stated atleast 2 weeks notice or a pay of 2 weeks, we as nannies have no right, we need to have someone to stand by us and respect our profession,

  • Amy F

    We need protection. Something like this should be passed on a National level. I worked for a wealthy family that started off okay and once we built up what seemed like trust, they turned around and treated me like their slave, having me wait on them and expecting me to work at their beck and call, beyond my already 57.5 hour work week. If I ever declined to do overtime, they would get upset or angry. They refused to hire back up babysitters for the longest time. When they finally agreed to “look into it,” I was the one that had to find the babysitters, not them. While I was paid for overtime, there was no regulation on it. The family did pay above minimum wage, but they did not pay taxes or pay into my unemployment. They didnt even report me on THEIR taxes. So when I was fired for undue cause, I couldnt collect unemployment.
    Additionally, there should be insurance coverage, especially for those of us who drive the children around in OUR OWN cars. We are using our own gas, putting on extra miles.

  • Amy F

    As I am now with a new family… I am realizing that this bill shouldnt be limited to CA. It should be national. This new family has been decent to me up until now. Now that have majorly invaded my privacy and while they listen to my side of the story, they refuse to punish the wrongdoing party. Therefore, it is all taken out on me. Something needs to be done!

  • LaurieC

    First, the bill is called, The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. A baby sitter is someone who occasionally watches a families children, i.e. date nights. The bill protects the rights of Nannies, child care providers working in someones home, housekeeping staff and live in domestic workers. The bill asks for a minimum of rights for domestic workers. It is not too much to ask a family to treat a “household employee” fairly and give them the rights that all other workers have under federal law. If it is too much trouble for a family to pay their household employee fairly, pay the proper taxes and insurance they have choices. Clean your own house or higher a professional cleaning service and drive your children to daycare each day.
    Anyone who thinks different is selling their skills short. Please respect what you do, because the family you work for will try to tell you how hard it is on them to do these things. The org. that puts on this forum is clearly not on OUR, the workers, side either.
    Juanita, You go girl. I agree! Just got let go myself and they don’t respect us. I have been supporting the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights for a couple of years.

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