New Overtime Rules for Nannies, Private Health Aides and Other Domestic Workers

On September 26, 2013, Governor Brown signed into law the California “Domestic Worker Bill of Rights” (AB 241). This bill requires overtime pay for nannies, private health aides and other domestic workers who work more than nine hours in a workday or 45 hours in a work week. This bill defines the term “domestic work” to mean services related to: “the care of persons in private households or maintenance of private households or their premises, which would include childcare providers, caregivers of people with disabilities, sick, convalescing, or elderly persons, house cleaners, housekeepers, maids, and other household occupations.” The bill is applicable to domestic workers employed directly by the household or through an agency acting as the payroll employer.

Opponents of the bill argued that the home care industry simply cannot absorb the increased labor costs. Additionally, the new overtime requirements will significantly impact the ability of the elderly or the severely disabled, particularly those individuals needing around-the-clock care (many of whom are on rigidly fixed incomes) to receive the domestic assistance they need at an affordable rate.

Note that this bill would indirectly modify Wage Order 15 for personal attendants, as they will now receive overtime. AB 241 goes into effect on January 1, 2014 and has a three-year sunset clause. A committee will be set up to review the bill’s success, and then lawmakers will have three years to make it permanent.

Relatedly, on September 17, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced the extension of the federal wage-hour protections to “direct care workers.” Like AB 241, this new DOL mandate narrows the exemption for direct care workers. Unlike AB 41, however, the DOL changes will require that a direct care worker be paid overtime for all hours worked beyond 40 hours in a work week (AB 241 sets the line at 9 hours in a workday or 45 hours in a workweek). Additional information can be found online in the DOL’s brochure “Minimum Wage and Overtime Pay Protections: A Guide for Direct Care Workers.” These federal changes go into effect until January 1, 2015.

For questions regarding domestic worker overtime or other employment law issues, contact any of the employment law attorneys at LightGabler.