Domestic workers in California — and groups and people who support better employment conditions for them nationwide — are hailing a new bill of labor rights signed into law Thursday in Sacramento.
The signing of AB 241 ensures that domestic workers in private homes are paid overtime for the hours they work.
The law goes into effect on January 1, a year before similar but federal regulations announced this month begin, California state Assemblymember Tom Ammiano said in a statement. He is the main author of the bill.
“This is a big step for respecting and recognizing domestic work as real work, and the fight doesn’t stop here,” Marcela Escamilla, a San Francisco domestic worker, said in a statement released by Mujeres Unidas y Activas.
“The fire for this movement will now burn brighter for domestic workers across the country fighting for the same recognition.”
Mujeres Unidas y Activas,
Domestic workers, such as caregivers and nannies, make all forms of other work possible and play an increasingly significant role in the U.S. economy. However, a new national study found, on average, domestic workers earn little more than minimum wage and few receive benefits like Social Security, health insurance or paid sick days.
Conducted by the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) and the Center for Urban Economic Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the study offers a startling and provocative look into the often-invisible world of domestic workers. Based on interviews with 2,086 workers across the country, researchers found domestic workers face serious financial hardships and have little control over their working conditions.
As a critical part of the U.S. labor force, domestic workers help thousands of working families by enabling them to focus on their jobs. Yet, they are often paid well below the level needed to adequately support their own family.