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?