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Bill grants overtime for domestic workers

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POSTED September 11, 2013 9:41 p.m.


SACRAMENTO,   (AP) — Employers would have to temporarily pay overtime to domestic workers under a bill approved Wednesday by the state Senate, but the mandate would expire in a few years unless the Legislature renews it.

Senators approved AB241 on a 22-12 vote, sending it back to the Assembly for a vote on amendments.

The bill was scaled back from the version originally proposed by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco.

It now exempts part-time baby sitters, but it requires that other domestic workers be paid time-and-a-half if they work more than nine hours in a day or 45 hours in a week. That requirement expires Jan. 1, 2017, unless renewed by the Legislature.

"It is not only about humane treatment, it is about ensuring fair and equal labor practices," said Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, who carried the bill in the Senate.

Republicans objected that the bill would drive up employers' costs, reduce hours for employees and harm the elderly and children who might have their care-givers work in shifts to avoid triggering overtime.

"It's unnecessary and burdensome," said Sen. Tom Berryhill, R-Twain Harte.

The so-called Domestic Worker Bill of Rights also calls for Gov. Jerry Brown to appoint a committee composed of workers and their employers to report on the law's effects.

Ammiano's original bill added meal breaks and other labor protections for housekeepers, nannies and workers who care for children, the disabled and the elderly.

Brown vetoed a similar bill last year, citing the financial hit it to families.

Ammiano, in a statement, called the Senate action "one more step in a movement to make sure these workers get the kind of labor protections they deserve."

"This movement is taking place all over the country and won't be over until domestic workers rights are spelled out in every state. When this bill gets final approval and signature, California will be a leader in that movement," he said.

Labor groups said domestic workers are frequently female immigrants and are not protected under other state and federal labor and employment laws. New York and Hawaii previously passed domestic worker protection acts.

"We have been fighting for basic protections like overtime for years in this state. This vote shows that we are not alone and that our voices are being heard," Rosa Sanchez, a caregiver from Los Angeles, said in a statement released through the AFL-CIO, which supports the bill.

The state Chamber of Commerce dropped its opposition because of the Senate amendments.

 

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