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Is the California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Good for Nannies and Families or an Example of the Nanny State?

September 1, 2011

In California there’s been quite a bit of talk and some hysteria over a proposed bill, The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights or California 889.   The bill essentially requires domestic workers to be paid minimum wage and time and one-half based on the same rules as other workers.  It also requires employers to give their employee a paycheck stub that reports hours worked, pay, and deductions.

The provision that’s causing some hysteria and panic amongst families is the provision that requires the employer to give the nanny a 10 minute break every 4 hours and a 30 minute break every 5 hours.  People are saying they’ll have to hire two nannies to cover the time off.  Does that really make sense?  Don’t nannies get breaks now when the child is napping or watching TV?  How is this different from a mom talking on the phone and keeping an eye on her child at the same time?  Or, mom grabbing lunch while keeping an eye on their child.  Surely, the law doesn’t intend a break where the nanny leaves the child alone.  Personally, I think this reaction has to do more with people claiming “nanny state” than reality.

The part of the bill that will cause some pain will impact mainly seniors that have caregivers and senior care agencies.  This is because of the rules requiring live-in caregivers to have 8 hours off to sleep in a 24 hour shift and rules regarding pay.  This could be painful to seniors since it could drive up the cost of caregivers.

From what I’ve heard a similar-sounding law in NY state has had little impact on how nanny employers and employees work. For those interested here’s a link to an interview our nanny Claudia and I gave to NBC Los Angeles.


6 Responses to Is the California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Good for Nannies and Families or an Example of the Nanny State?

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keila says:

it’s upsetting that so many people are up in arms about their nannies having a short break during the day – we’re people, too, and we need to take a breather and regroup just like any other employee. it’d be nice to have a show of support and understanding from employers.

Natalie N. says:

Couldn’t agree more! I understand the concern about children being unattended, but I also second what was said in this post – most career nannies would NEVER leave their charge unattended. Breaks would be taken while the child was otherwise occupied, and even then I’m pretty sure we’d still have one eye on the child.

Lupe says:

I think it’s great for domestic workers to be paid minimum wage and time and a half for their time.

admin says:

We’re so glad this has facilitated so much discussion!! Please keep your opinions coming!

Jennifer says:

It seems a little excessive to me that people are claiming they’ll need two nannies to cover one 30 minute break… That break should just be taken when the child is an activity or on a nap break or studying homework, etc.

Clarissa W. says:

with the right stipulations, a break should be fine and even necessary. obviously you don’t want your nanny leaving the child unattended or alone, but it’s irrational to think that they don’t deserve a break just like every single other employee does!