HOMECARE WORKERS HAVE RIGHTS ON THE JOB!
Homecare workers may also be known as caregivers or personal care aides. If you work in a private home and care for, supervise, dress, bathe, or feed an older person, or a person with a physical or mental disability, and if no more than 20% of your workweek is spent on general housekeeping duties, like cleaning, cooking, laundry, or making beds, you are considered a “Personal Attendant” under the law and you have rights!
Below are some of the most important rights you have as a personal attendant. No matter what your immigration status is, all immigrants have rights as workers. Whether or not you have papers to work or are paid in cash, you have the right to claim the wages you are owed and to speak up about your rights.
You have the right to be paid the hourly minimum wage for all hours worked:
This hourly minimum wage is higher in many cities, like Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Santa Rosa. Please refer to this minimum wage tracker to see if the city you work in has a higher hourly minimum wage: tinyurl.com/minwageCAcities
You have the right to be paid overtime*:
- Attendants who do not live in the home of the employer and all attendants hired by an agency have the right to: 1.5 x your regular hourly rate of pay for work over 9 hours in a day and 40 hours in a week.
- Attendants who live in the home of the employer and who are hired directly by the household have the right to: 1.5 x your regular hourly rate of pay for work over 9 hours in a day and 45 hours in a week.
- Here is an example of how to calculate overtime: If you are regularly paid $16 an hour, overtime pay would be 1.5 X $16= $24 per hour.
*Receive government funding (e.g. In-Home Support Services) are not covered under daily overtime laws and have the right to overtime after 40 hours a week. If you are an attendant hired directly by the household who spends most of your time providing companionship services such as playing games, keeping company, or accompanying on walks, errands or appointments and no more than 20% of your time is spent on personal care duties like dressing, toileting, bathing, grooming, or any other housekeeping tasks, you are entitled to overtime after 9 hours in a day and 45 hours in a week.
You have the right to paid sick leave:
- You earn 1 hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked for your employer. You can begin using paid sick time after a period of 90 days from your employment start date.
- You can use sick time leave if you get sick or injured; to care for an ill family member; or to attend a medical appointment for you or family member; or to get services or legal help if you are a victim of domestic violence, assault or stalking.
- Your employer may limit your use of paid sick time per year to 24 hours or 3 days, whichever is more.
*IHSS workers have different paid sick leave rules.
You have the right to workers’ compensation to cover medical expenses or lost wages if you become sick or get injured at work:
- You can file a claim for workers compensation if you worked at least 52 hours for your employer within the 90-day period before your injury and earned at least $100 within that period. Report your illness or injury to your employer immediately, and if you get treatment, notify the doctor that this is a work-related incident.
You have the right to be paid on time:
- Pay is due twice a month.
You have the right to be paid for all of your wages if you are fired or quit your job:
- If you are fired your pay is due immediately.
- If you quit and gave 72 hours notice, you should be paid on your last day of work.
- If you didn’t give notice, then you should be paid within 72 hours of quitting.
- If you are not get paid all the wages owed to you when you are fired or quit, you can get waiting time penalties, which is your daily average wage for each day that you are owed wages, for up to 30 days.
You have the right to protection from harassment and from being retaliated against for standing up for your legal rights:
- It is illegal for an employer to sexually harass you. If you are experiencing harassment or physical abuse because of your race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and/or disability, contact the California Domestic Workers Coalition or the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
- It is illegal for an employer to threaten you, fire you or call immigration or the police on you for exercising your workplace rights or if you take time for services or relief as a victim of sexual assault or of certain crimes.
If you live in the home of your employer or work 24- hour shifts, you have specific rights about off-duty time and payment deductions for meals and rent.
Check the FAQ on our website for more details.
Keeping Records is Key to Defending Your Rights:
- It is important to keep records for days and hours worked, any breaks you took and wages paid as proof in case your rights are violated.
- If you are harassed, write down details including dates, time, location, and what happened.
- You should also keep track of how much time you spend doing housework in a workweek. If you spend more than 20% of your total workweek on housework (cleaning, cooking, laundry), you have different overtime rules and have the right to meal & rest breaks.
There are various State and Federal agencies that protect these workers’ rights and more. Please talk to an advocate with the California Domestic Workers Coalition to figure out how to make sure your rights are upheld and respected.