Bill requires overtime pay for home care workers
by Brian Leubitz
While overtime pay has been required for decades in most industries, domestic workers have always been exempted. While the logic is far from clear, home health care workers, nannies and other home care workers were simply left out of the arrangement. AB 241 changes that:
“Domestic workers are primarily women of color, many of them immigrants, and their work has not been respected in the past,” said Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), the bill’s author. “Now they will be entitled to overtime, like just about every other California working person.”(LA Times)
Now, that is not to say that AB 241 goes as far as Asm. Ammiano wanted to go with his domestic workers bill. Last year’s AB 889, which was vetoed by the governor (veto message here), would have guaranteed meal breaks and other rights. However, this bill does commission a study to review the totality of working conditions for domestic workers to be completed by 2017 and that could provide the data for further protections.
All that being said, overtime is a great first step for domestic workers, and groups like Mujeres Unidas y Activas celebrated the victory yesterday at the signing.
MUA is so proud of this victory and the role we have played in this work over the past 8 years. We know that the work truly just begins now – the work of educating workers about their rights and employers about their responsibilities, the work of building the base of organized worker to reach the thousands and hundreds of thousands in California, the work of sharing the story and model of our organizing campaign with our sisters across the country who are just starting this journey, the work of winning even more rights and protections for domestic workers, and the work of changing our culture to respect and recognize the work that makes all other work possible.
Last minute legislation is pouring through both chambers
by Brian Leubitz
Session is technically scheduled to start at close of business tomorrow. However, with Yom Kippur starting tomorrow at sunset, legislative leaders are hoping to close up shop tonight. There are a number key piece of legislation in play today. Here are a few highlights:
- Gun safety – You can find a quick summary of the gun safety legislation in this WaPo article. Forgive the journalist his folly saying that the legislators could face political blowback. Apparently he thinks that the politics in Colorado is somehow a reasonable analog for California. It is not. However, here are a few highlights from the “LIFE ACT” (PDF):
- require gun owners to report stolen guns within a week
- further limits who can own a gun, and requires gun owners lock up their guns around people who aren’t eligible
- limits assault rifles: semi-automatic magazines limited to ten rounds, increases registration requirements
- Minimum wage – Luis Alejo’s AB10 to increase the minimum wage to $10 by 2016 has the support of both legislative leaders and the Governor.
- Domestic workers – Asm. Tom Ammiano’s AB 241 domestic workers bill of rights would provide all domestic workers who care for California’s homes and families with some of the basic labor protections they have been denied for decades. The Senate passed it yesterday, but the Governor has not said anything about the bill. Which way he will go is unclear.
- CEQA – It looks like at least some reform will get done. Sen. Steinberg’s SB 743 doesn’t completely overhaul the system, but it does ease restrictions on infill projects, especially ones close to public transit.
- Bay Bridge – The Legislature passed a resolution to rename the Bay Bridge in honor of Willie Brown. The governor opposed it, on the basis that our names for the bridges are good enough as they are. However, as it is a resolution, the Governor doesn’t have a veto.
As somebody who uses the Bay Bridge frequently, I tend to agree with the Governor on this last one. It isn’t a new road, the name has been the same for the better part of three generations. While Willie Brown is certainly a legend to the state and the region, I liked the name Bay Bridge. I have to imagine that the old name won’t go away quickly.
There will surely be more to come as the legislative session wraps up this evening; I’ll try to update with anything major.