A bill that would protect the rights of domestic workers has passed the California State Senate and is now on its way to Gov. Jerry Brown’s (D) desk.

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The Domestic Worker Bill of Rights would give labor protections to those who work in homes as housekeepers, caregivers to the elderly and disabled, and nannies. The legislation would ensure workers receive overtime pay, food and rest breaks and access to kitchen facilities. Live-in workers would also be guaranteed at least eight hours of uninterrupted sleep.

According to the National Domestic Workers Alliance, 90 percent of domestic workers in California don’t have formal contracts and don’t have overtime or break provisions.

According to ThinkProgress, 25 percent are paid below the minimum wage and only 2 percent have employer-provided health insurance.

“That leads to acute financial hardship,” they report. “Over 60 percent say their wages are lower than what they need to support a family and nearly the same percentage spend more than half of their income on rent. Almost a quarter had no food to eat in the last month because they couldn’t afford to buy it.”

A similar bill was vetoed last year by Gov. Brown, who said the legislation would be too expensive to implement.

Media Resources: Domesticworkers.org; ThinkProgress, 9/12/2013; ThinkProgress, 10/1/2013

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