SACRAMENTO (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday signed a bill that will temporarily require overtime pay for domestic workers in California, after he vetoed a broader measure last year that critics said would have opened the door for government regulation of part-time baby-sitting.
Under the new law, which takes effect in January, domestic workers must be paid time-and-a-half if they work more than nine hours in a day or more than 45 hours in a week. Baby sitters are exempt from the mandate.
The overtime requirement will end in January 2017 unless renewed by the Legislature.
"Domestic workers are primarily women of color, many of them immigrants, and their work has not been respected in the past," the bill's author, Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco, said in a statement. "Now, they will be entitled to overtime, like just about every other California working person."
Ammiano has pushed for domestic worker protections for three years. He initially sought to include a requirement for meal and rest breaks for housekeepers, nannies and workers who care for the disabled and elderly, but those provisions eventually were dropped from his measure, AB241.
In his veto of last year's version, Brown cited concerns about increased costs from the proposed requirements.
The Democratic governor announced his decision to sign the bill on Twitter. He said in the post that the measure will "help California's domestic workers" and included a picture from a private signing ceremony with a crowd of supporters.
Labor groups say domestic workers, who tend to be female immigrants, often are not protected under labor and employment laws. California is the latest state to offer certain protections, after New York and Hawaii.
New federal rules approved last week would extend minimum wage and overtime laws to home health care workers starting in January 2015.
Some employers and groups representing home care workers, such as the California Association for Health Services at Home, opposed the California measure. They say the overtime-pay requirement will raise the cost of care, which will be a burden on families whose insurance plans do not cover home care services.
Those requiring continuous care might need multiple workers, increasing the number of people coming in and out of the house, said Jeff Salter of Caring Senior Service, a national home care company with offices in Fresno and San Diego.
"Clients may decide to reduce care to avoid costs and hassles," said Salter, the company's founder and CEO.
The legislation also requires the governor to appoint a committee composed of workers and their employers to report on the law's effects.