History of Exclusion
US Congress enacted The Labor Standards Act in 1938 which granted workers with minimum wage and overtime protections for the first time. Southern lawmakers refused to pass the Act unless farmworkers and domestic workers excluded because the majority of these workforces were African Americans.
Domestic work is rooted in the legacy of slavery and today the vast majority of domestic workers are migrant women of color whose work is socially and systemically undervalued. In 1976, California passed a Household Occupations Wage Order to provide minimum wage, overtime and other labor protections to domestic workers but it excluded workers who spend a significant amount of time caring for children, seniors and people with disabilities.
Victory with AB 241
After a 7 year fight to pass state legislation in California to extend labor protections to a historically excluded workforce, in 2013, we passed SB241: the CA Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. This bill extends overtime protections to domestic workers who had previously been excluded; personal attendants who care for children, seniors and people with disabilities. AB241 includes a sunset clause which dictactes the law to cease on January 1, 2017.
What is SB 1015?
We recently introduced Senate SB1015: The 2016 Domestic Workers Bill of Rights into the legislature in order to continue the success of the 2013 Domestic Workers Bill of Rights or AB 241 and remove the 2017 sunset provision to make overtime protections permanent. We have partnered with Senator Connie Leyva, to guarantee overtime protections for domestic workers who care for children, seniors and people with disabilities in private homes. SB 1015 uplifts the dignity of all our families and affirms the dignity of the domestic work industry.
This bill seeks to rectify the historical exclusion of domestic workers from state labor protections and to affirm domestic work as legitimate, valuable work. Once again we’ll mobilize hundreds of domestic workers from across the state to uphold the dignity of all families but we cannot do accomplish this alone.
We know that in order to pass SB1015, we need to build broad-based support and lift up the voices of our allies who believe that domestic workers should be guaranteed dignified labor standards under overtime law just like all other work. To provide your endorsement please visit bit.ly/DWdignity2016 to complete your endorsement and stand with domestic workers in California!
Building a National Movement
We are part of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and together we work towards uplifting the dignity of domestic workers across the U.S. by building domestic worker power in our communities and our state Capitols. California joins 5 other states in extending labor protections to domestic workers; other states that have enacted legislation are New York, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Oregon. Together we are building domestic worker power by organizing alongside workers, employers, unions, faith leaders, immigrants rights groups and entire communities to protect the dignity of all our families.