Gov. Brown Vetoes California “Domestic Workers Bill of Rights”

Gov. Brown Vetoes California Bill AB889 “Domestic Workers Bill of Rights”

If you were worrying whether you’d have to start hiring two babysitters to provide for meal breaks, you can rest easier.  The controversial AB889 was vetoed by Jerry Brown for being both “impractical at best and dangerous at worst.” 

AB889, the so called “Domestic Workers Bill of Rights” was California’s attempt to “protect” domestic care givers by increasing their pay, easing workers compensation requirements, and defining standards for meal periods and breaks.  However, the bill was written very broadly with ill- defined standards of application. When the Chamber of Commerce and businesses that provide caregivers oppose the bill, you know there are some inherent problems with it.

In a statement to the press, Governor Brown called this bill a “noble endeavor,” focused on people who deserved fair pay and equal treatment.  However, it also “raises a lot of unanswered questions.” 

What Would AB889 Have Changed

·         Caregivers would be required to have 10 minute breaks every 2 hours and a meal period to rest- many opponents argue this could have dangerous consequences for invalids and minor children under someone’s care

·         Employers/ parents would have to pay with itemized pay stubs

·         Pay would have to increase to $8/ hr plus overtime, potentially even when hiring a babysitter

·         Employers/ parents would have to supply copies of the Labor Code to caregivers

·         Provide equal access to Worker’s Compensation, eliminating the need to earn $100 in the 90 days prior to an accident


How Workers Compensation Would Have Been Affected


The so called Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights would have increased worker’s compensation costs significantly.  But it also would have provided fair access to Worker’s Compensation benefits.  Previously, the law required a caregiver work at least 52 hours and earn over $100 in the previous 90 days to gain access to Worker’s Compensation benefits.  This would have excluded a babysitter who slips and falls during that night out you hired her for. 

New York passed similar legislation, but it appears California just isn’t ready for broader sweeping worker’s compensation reform after their recent system overhaul. We’ll have to watch and see if there are more changes down the road.