CA Senate Committee Approves Labor Rights for 200,000 Domestic Workers

Domestic workers supporting the California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights in the Senate (photo courtesy of FAJ)

Filipino Advocates for Justice announced that on Thursday July 6th, the California Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee voted 5-2 in favor of AB 889. The bill – also known as the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights, extends basic, humane labor protections to thousands of nannies, caregivers, and housecleaners and improves the quality of care for California’s families.

Sponsored by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), the bill now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee for approval.  Co-sponsored by Assemblymembers Allen (D- Sonoma),  Cedillo (D- LA), Ma (D- San Francisco), Fuentes (D-San Fernando), Ma (D-San Francisco), Monning (D- Santa Cruz) and Senator De Léon. The bill seeks to remove the exclusion of domestic workers from basic wage and hour protections which the vast majority of California workers already enjoy. The current exemptions for domestic workers are confusing and leave well-meaning employers vulnerable to liability. AB 889 sets industry-wide standards that will help keep the industry above-ground.

The Senate Committee vote follows the passage of the bill in the California Assembly and last year’s successful passage of a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights in New York. Domestic workers have historically been exempted from laws governing the rights afforded to other workers -decent wages, a safe and healthy workplace health, workers compensation and other labor protections. Domestic workers are among the most isolated and vulnerable workforce in the state. The unique nature of their work requires protections to prevent abuse and mistreatment from occurring behind closed doors, out of the public eye. This bill provides domestic workers with industry-specific protections to use kitchen facilities and cook their own food, and creates standards for sleep, for meal and rest breaks and overtime wages.

 

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