Domestic workers in Los Angeles and throughout the state of California may have been disappointed about Gov. Jerry Brown's decision last year to veto a bill that would have provided domestic workers with important and basic labor protections. But the fight for these workers to have basic protections is not over.
Last week, more than 100 domestic workers gathered downtown to demand that the state reconsider a revised bill that would grant domestic workers the protections they need. Assemblyman Tom Ammiano is making revisions to the bill that was vetoed last year and plans to re-introduce the bill.
Domestic employees are often taken advantage of by their employers since they lack so many basic protections and employee rights that millions of other Americans have in the workplace. The California Domestic Worker Bill of Rights focuses on putting an end to this unfair treatment in the workplace by making sure domestic workers have rights that must be enforced and followed by their employers.
The bill is still being revised and drafted, but Ammiano said the bill will address six main issues for domestic workers. The bill will address overtime concerns and meal and rest break issues. The bill also proposes that live-in domestic workers have the right to get a recommended eight hours of sleep each day. The bill does list some exceptions to this rule, though. Additionally, the bill proposes that live-in workers have the right to have access to kitchen facilities so that they can prepare their own meals. Workers' compensation and paid sick days are two other important issues that will be addressed by the bill.
These employee protections may seem basic, but domestic workers must currently rely on their employers to do what is right when it comes to employing domestic workers. Unfortunately, this doesn't happen in many cases. According to a 2012 study, more than 65 percent of live-in domestic employees are paid wages that are below state minimum wage requirements. Workers who gathered in Los Angeles last week to demand labor protections stated that they deserve to be treated like human beings by their employers.
Source: The Huffington Post, "Domestic Workers Bill In California Brings Housekeepers & Nannies To The Streets," Kathleen Miles, March 7, 2013