Who are Domestic Workers (DWs)?

Domestic workers include nannies, childcare providers, attendants to people with disabilities and seniors, housecleaners, cooks, gardeners, and any other household worker. They work in a private home, whether they are directly hired by the household or by an agency.

Who are personal attendants?

Personal attendants are caregivers and childcare providers who spend at least 80% of their time caring for children, elderly or people with disabilities. They can either be live-in or live-out employees.

Am I a Personal Attendant?

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The Right to Minimum Wage

All domestic workers are entitled to the state minimum wage, except babysitters under 18 and the employers’ parent, spouse or child. The minimum wage in California in 2016 is $10 per hour. Many cities throughout California have a higher minimum wage than that of the state. To find your city’s minimum wage, go here.

Overtime Pay

All domestic workers are entitled to some level of overtime pay, except for casual babysitters, babysitters under 18, the employers’ parent, spouse, sibling or child, personal attendants worker for IHSS recipients or through the Dept. of Developmental Services, and certain childcare providers working for families that receive state childcare funds.

Personal attendants are entitled to the following overtime pay:

  • 1.5 x ”regular rate of pay” for work over 9 hours in a day and/or 45 hours in a week

Live-out domestic workers who are not personal attendants are entitled to:

  • 1.5 x ‘regular rate of pay’ for work over 8 hours and/or 40 hours in a week
  • 1.5 x ‘regular rate of pay’ for the first 8 hours on the 7th consecutive day
  • 2 x ‘regular rate of pay’ for work over 12 hours in a day
  • 2 x ‘regular rate of pay’ for work over 8 hours on 7th consecutive day

Live-in domestic workers who are not personal attendants are entitled to:

  • 3 (non-consecutive) hours off within a 12 hour work day
  • 12 consecutive hours off in a 24 hour workday
  • 24 consecutive hours off for every 5 days of work
  • 1.5 x ‘regular rate of pay’ for work over 9 hours in a day and/or 45 hours in a week
  • 1.5 x ‘regular rate of pay’ for the first 9 hours on the 6th and 7th consecutive day
  • 2 x ‘regular rate of pay’ for more than 9 hours on the 6th or 7th consecutive dayWhat is my ‘regular rate of pay’?

For an hourly employee, the ‘regular rate of pay’ is the regular hourly wage.

  • If the employee is paid a flat daily rate, the daily rate needs to be divided by 8. For example, the ‘regular rate of pay’ for an employee who is paid $80 a day is $10 an hour ($80 ÷ 8 = $10).
  • If the employee is paid by salary, the salary must be converted to an hourly rate. For example if the monthly salary is $1,600 per month:$1,600 per month x 12 months = $19,200 per year Divide by 52 weeks: $369.23 per week
    Divide by 40 hours = $9.23 per hour
    $9.23 is the ‘regular rate of pay’
  • If the ‘regular rate of pay’ is below the minimum wage, the minimum wage will be used as the pay rate.

Meal and Rest breaks

All domestic workers except for personal attendants have the right to:

A 30 minute unpaid meal break for work periods more than 5 hours; a second meal period of 30 minutes for shifts more than 10 hours in a day. You can give up your 1st meal period if you work a total of 6 hours per day or less.

10 minute paid rest breaks: you should receive 10 minute rest periods for shifts from 3.5 to 6 hours, 20 minute total rest periods for shifts of 6 to 10 hours, and 30 minute total rest periods for shifts of 10 to 14 hours.

Employers must pay 1 additional hour of pay at the employee’s ‘regular rate of pay’ for each work day that there is a rest or meal break violation.

I am undocumented, do I have the same rights as other workers?

All immigrants have rights as workers! You are covered by basic wage and hour laws, regardless of immigration status. This means whether or not you have papers to work, you have the right to claim the wages you are owed and to speak up about your rights.

Keeping Records and Timesheets

It is important that all workers also keep records for hours worked and wages paid as proof in case your rights are violated. Click here to download timesheet templates you can use to track your hours.

If you are being harassed as a worker, write down details of any harassment including dates, time, locations, and what happened.

Employers who hire housecleaners, cooks, gardeners, and non-personal attendants must keep time records of when the employee begins and ends each work period, including meals. The employer must also keep a total daily and weekly hours worked and total wages paid each payroll period. Employers must keep records for at least 3 years

Protection from harassment & discrimination

All domestic workers have protection by California State harassment laws when they are sexually harassed by their employer or experience harassment because of their race, ethnicity, or religion. If your rights have been violated in any way or have been physically abused, contact your local domestic worker organization or a legal advocate for help.

More Domestic Worker Rights Resources & Downloads

For a comprehensive learning tool, email cadomesticworkers@mujeresunidas.net to buy your Domestic Worker Know Your Rights booklet.