Monday, June 13, 2011

Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Approved by California State Assembly


California may be the second state to enact the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. The state assembly earlier this month approved legislation to extend wage and hour protection along with other rights to those who work in private homes. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the vote was close and may be linked to legislation to protect hotel workers.

The bill is being hailed by immigrant and labor groups as victory. From the Pilipino Workers' Center of Southern California,

The California Assembly approved AB 889 . . . the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, sponsored by   Assemblymembers Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) and V.M. Pérez (D-Coachella) 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- Carmel) and Senator De Léon , the bill would improve the quality of care for children, families and seniors by expanding basic labor  protections for household workers and setting industry-wide standards. While current exclusions for domestic workers are confusing and leave well-meaning employers vulnerable to liability, the standards AB 889 provides will create clarity and strengthen an industry which is vital to many Californians. 

“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 legislative session ends in early September, so we'll know fairly shortly if this is headed to Governor Brown's desk.


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South Africa has long had very good laws to protect domestic workers. In actual fact domestic workers are considered professionals in the books of the government, protected like all other professionals.

But the government is facing a major challenge that is threatening the gains it has made in the protection of domestic workers. The country is being swamped by foreign domestic workers from surrounding countries who are willing to work for next to nothing. There lies the problem.

What is the way forward?

Posted by: Robert | Jul 16, 2011 10:42:52 AM

To those like love Japan, Japanese Culture and Honest Pay,

The Japanese yen is record high today and I would think it will remain this way for a while. I recommend all workers, whether it be domestic, service or manufacturing to come to Japan, NOW!!!

I am from central Tokyo and as a teenager in a florist, I have never worked under $950/hr. No one in Japan would think of working at Tokyo's minumum wage... Nope. No one would come. Well, perhaps people with criminal records would... but 99% of the Tokyo's labor would not settle for that.

The average hourly wage for part timers throughout Japan is 973 yen as reported by Nikkei BP. I think it will become 1,000 yen/hr very shortly.

Just for calculation sake, let's see how the strong yen works for you who would convert it to US dollar.

Tokyo minimum is 837 yen (77yen/$1now)= $10.87
Japan's average 973 yen = $12.63
English teacher min 3,000 yen = $38.96

Think about it!

Posted by: Yuki Togawa | Oct 2, 2011 3:52:32 PM

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