LOS ANGELES – The phones haven’t stopped ringing at the Pilipino Workers Center, a week after Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation protecting domestic workers.
The PWC is one of many organizations that spearheaded AB 241 The California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. The legislation will require overtime pay for the nearly 200,000 domestic workers such as caregivers, nannies, housekeepers, and others.
There are thousands of Filipinos working as domestic workers, said Aquilina Soriano-Versoza, executive director at PWC in Los Angeles.
“We’ve been receiving a lot of congratulations from unions, non-profit, groups, our members and other caregivers and domestic workers,” said Soriano-Versoza.
Brown signed the law on Thursday, September 26. California becomes the third state to pass a domestic workers bill of rights behind New York and Hawaii. California is the first to grant daily overtime for domestic workers after 9 hours of work.
Under the new law (which takes effect in January) domestic workers must be paid time-and-a-half if they work more than nine hours in a day or more than 45 hours in a week, according to the Associated Press. The overtime requirement will end in January 2017 unless renewed by the Legislature.
However, babysitters are not included in the mandate.
Soriano-Versoza said the legislation is not everything proponents have been seeking, but it’s a good compromise.
She said proponents were hoping for kitchen access, uninterrupted sleep for live-in domestic workers, workers compensation and meals and rest breaks.
But a committee composed of workers and their employers, which Brown added to the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights legislation, could revisit those issues.
The committee is tasked with studying the law’s effects, said Soriano-Versoza.
“Domestic workers are primarily women of color, many of them immigrants, and their work has not been respected in the past,” the bill’s author, Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco, said in a statement.
“Now, they will be entitled to overtime, like just about every other California working person.”
The passing of the bill is a win for supporters of domestic workers.
The bill has reached the governor three previous times, only to be vetoed for one reason or another.
Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a similar bill, AB 889, because he believed it could cost the state nearly $200 million in uncertainties and a possible “drafting error.”
In 2006, a similar bill passed the state legislature before then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill.
(LA Weekend October 5-8, 2013 Sec A pg.7)