California Legislation Could Provide Benefits For Babysitters

SACRAMENTO (CBS 5) – Legislation known as the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights could force California parents to provide benefits for childcare workers.

The pending bill regulates things like breaks, overtime pay and workers’ compensation for domestic employees including in-home care for children, the elderly, and people with disabilities. The regulations would also apply to housekeepers. Critics call it the Babysitting bill.

Among the proposed requirements is a 30-minute break after 5 hours of work. This would apply to anyone over 18.

As every parent knows, taking care of a child is exhausting and that every now and then everyone who watches a child needs a break, but should the state legislate those breaks for paid caregivers?

“Everything is getting too controlled by our policy-makers where (we) kind of need to take care of ourselves,” said Crystal Nelson of Alamo.

The bill isn’t clear if a parent would have to hire a person to watch the children, or if the break could be taken while the children are sleeping. The people who spoke to CBS 5 about the proposal interchangeably used the term babysitter and caregiver in their conversations – that could change fast if one position is regulated and the other is not.

“It wouldn’t work for a nanny,” said Robin LeGrand of Nanny Connection. “If the parents are gone and not working from home, it won’t work. They will have to get a waiver. The nanny can’t run to the ATM machine while the baby is sleeping.”

San Francisco Democrat Tom Ammiano authored the bill and his office says this does not apply to babysitters. However, critics say the bill does not specifically exempt babysitters, but does exempt daycare workers and government entities.

The term domestic worker can be loosely defined, so there’s the possibility the college aged sitter could be entitled to a break during her Friday night babysitting gig if the legislation is approved.

It is still not clear if the proposal has enough support in Sacramento to become law.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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