Reauthorizing the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights
What is SB 1015, and why do we need it? SB 1015 continues the success from AB 241 (2013) — which granted overtime protections to California’s privately hired domestic workers — by removing the 2017 sunset provision and making the law’s provisions permanent. California's historic AB 241 reversed a 77-year old exclusion of domestic workers from overtime pay requirements in the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act. At the time, racist Dixiecrat politicians had insisted on excluding domestic workers and farm workers, then mainly Black, from the Act. AB 241 erased that shameful legacy for California's 300.000 domestic workers: personal attendants, maids, nannies, and housecleaners. But AB 241's protection expires in 2017. SB 1015 makes overtime protection for domestic workers permanent. Domestic workers, particularly personal attendants who take care of frail seniors and people with disabilities, is the fastest growing job category in the US, yet because of poor pay, bad working conditions, and vulnerability to exploitation, it is the job category with the highest turnover. Those who need care to stay in their homes suffer from this turnover. Every eight seconds, another person turns 65 in the US, and public health experts predict that tomorrow's seniors will have worse chronic disease than yesterday's seniors. We need caregiving to be a valued and respected occupation with good pay and working conditions. Granting California's domestic workers overtime pay guarantees is an important step in that direction. SB 1015 is awaiting assignment to a policy committee, no action until March 13.