California Assembly Approves Domestic Workers Bill of Rights!

DataCenter’s current national survey of Domestic Workers provided important, never-before-determined statistics about domestic workers in California. Real, courageous nannies and maids used this information to argue the necessity of a Domestic Worker Bill of Rights to California Assemblymembers.

Hold on to your hats–we’re on our way to getting basic dignity and protection for domestic workers written into California law!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 2, 2011

Assembly approves sensible clear guidelines benefiting domestic workers and employers

SACRAMENTO – The California Assembly approved AB 889 today, the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, sponsored by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) passed.  The bill now heads to the Senate for approval.  Co-sponsored by Assemblymembers Allen (D- Sonoma),  Cedillo (D- LA), Ma (D- San Francisco), Monning (D- Santa Cruz) and Senator De Léon , the bill seeks to remove the exclusion of domestic workers from all rights provided to all California workers under Wage Order 15. AB 889 sets industry-wide standards. The current exemptions for domestic workers are confusing and leave well-meaning employers vulnerable to liability. The standards will help keep the industry above-ground.

“Today’s vote was a historic step forward for the rights of domestic workers in California. For decades domestic work has been excluded from both state and federal labor laws and worker exploitation in this industry has remained invisible and unmonitored. AB 889 will end that by establishing the same basic protections under the law that many of us take for granted,” said Ammiano.

“This legislation helps us to bring a critical workforce out of the shadows and into the light of day.  Domestic workers must be assured the rights and protections that all California workers deserve,” said V. Manuel Pérez, chair of the Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economic Development, and the Economy.

The Assembly vote follows last year’s successful passage of a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights in New York. Domestic workers have historically been exempted from laws governing the rights afforded to other workers -decent wages, a safe and healthy workplace health, workers compensation and other labor protections. Domestic workers are among the most isolated and vulnerable workforce in the state. The unique nature of their work requires protections to prevent abuse and mistreatment from occurring behind closed doors, out of the public eye. This bill provides domestic workers with industry-specific protections to use kitchen facilities and cook their own food, and creates standards for sleep, sick days, living wage increases, and paid vacations.

“Pues esa victoria significa que se vamos poco poco en el camino de luchando para ganar estos derechos que no han sido reconocido en este trabajo digno,” said Maria Reyes of Mujeres Unidas y Activas.  “This victory signifies that we’re moving step by step on the path to victory to win rights that have never been recognized in this dignified work.”

“The Bill of Rights creates helpful guidelines for employers of domestic workers.  Employers have a vested self-interest in this campaign- by working to support the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights, we are investing in building communication and trust with workers who support some of the most intimate parts of our lives, providing home care to people with disabilities and elders, or caring for our children and our homes.” Jessica Lehman, employer of a personal attendant in her home and a member of Hand in Hand: Domestic Employer Association.

Quintin Mecke

Communications Director

Office of Assemblymember Tom Ammiano

455 Golden Gate Avenue, #14300

San Francisco, CA  94102

Email: quintin.mecke@asm.ca.gov

Phone: 415.557.3013

Fax: 415.557.3015

Website: http://democrats.assembly.ca.gov/members/a13/