Understanding California's Domestic Workers Rights Bill

Mar 6, 2012

Host: Joseph Pace

Producer: Susie Britton

Sponsored by Assemblymembers Tom Ammiano and V. Manuel Pérez, AB 889, otherwise known as California's domestic workers' bill of rights, would establish new rules governing the wages, hours and working conditions of the estimated 200,000 Californians who work as nannies, housekeepers, and in-home attendants for the elderly and disabled. Overwhelmingly women and foreign-born, domestic workers, as supporters of the bill point out, often labor in isolation, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation, discrimination and abuse and unable to advocate collectively for better working conditions. By closing loopholes that have excluded these workers from protective labor laws, supporters say that AB 889, in mandating basic benefits such as overtime pay, rest breaks, and the right to sue over unlawful employment practices, will go a long way toward greater equality for domestic workers. But to some, the bill as written may have negative unintended consequences for another vulnerable population, namely the hundreds of thousands of elderly and disabled citizens who may no longer be able to afford quality in-home care. 

Can AB 889 balance the needs of these two constituencies? 

What do employers and employees alike need to know about the bill?


Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, representing San Francisco and the 13th Assembly District. He is a co-sponsor of AB 889.

Grecia Lima, Campaign Director for the California Domestic Workers Coalition.

Andy Howard, CEO of HomeCare Professionals, an in-home care placement agency based in Daly City.

Maria Ontiveros, Professor of employment law at the University of San Francisco School of Law, where she focuses on immigrant workers' rights.

Joe Hafkenschiel, President of the California Association for Health Services at Home, a statewide organization representing the in-home care industry.