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Does a proposed bill require work comp benefits for babysitters?

In workers' compensation defense news, a new legislative measure designed to enlarge the legal protections of domestic workers throughout the state of California is already generating a significant degree of controversy - months before its potential passage.

Specifically, Assembly Bill 889 (AB 889), known as the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, would require Californians who employ domestic workers (i.e., nannies, housekeepers, caregivers) to provide minimum wage, overtime, mandatory breaks and even work comp benefits.

However, AB 889 would not apply to family members or anyone under the age of 18.

The controversy surrounding AB 889 comes from the fact that babysitters could reasonably be considered to be within the scope of protection afforded by the bill.

"We're talking about a full-time babysitter," said Michael Murphy, a father of three who indicated that AB 889 may make it harder for him to hire college students looking for a supplemental income. "It's not right to put this burden on young parents."

However, the bill's sponsor, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), has recently come forward to dispel these concerns over AB 889.

"The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights is not about babysitters," read a released statement from Rep. Ammiano. "It's about extending the same basic labor protections that all other California workers already have to the 200,000 domestic workers who provide care to our disabled and elderly."

Interestingly, some politicians are perhaps more concerned with AB 889's overly broad language than with its actual substance.

"This is the kind of language we end up with when people rush to write a bill," said Senator Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale). "If they want to tighten up the legislation and have it just for professional domestic workers - great. But right now we're still talking about babysitters being included."

While the controversy over AB 889 is likely to endure, it is not expected to come before the state legislature until January 2012.

Stay tuned for further developments in the area of workers' compensation defense law...

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Related Resources:

News-10 Sacramento "Domestic workers bill sparks outrage from parents" Sept. 1, 2011

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