California Domestic Workers Coalition

San Fernando Valley Sun |

Caring for children is Norma Miranda’s passion. The 61-year-old Tarzana resident has been helping families for nearly one-third of her life since she arrived in Southern California two decades ago, occasionally combining it with cleaning homes to make ends meet. “I love to care for young kids,” she says, adding with a quip “I feel more like a mom than a cleaning lady.”

But Miranda worries about getting sick or having an accident at work and being forced to take time off without pay, she wonders how she would cover expensive medical care out of her own pocket, and the work arrangements that could even risk her life. 

“I had to work through the pandemic and had to take the bus to work every day, and I caught COVID three times,” she says. Still, she considers herself fortunate. “Another nanny I knew died from COVID. Like me, she took public transportation to get to work.”

A new bill aims to help hundreds of thousands of nannies like Miranda and other domestic workers to get protection enjoyed by most Californians under the state’s worker protection laws. Until now, the definition of “employment” in the California Labor Code has excluded “household domestic service.” That means that employers of the state’s estimated 360,000 domestic workers are not obligated to take steps to keep workers safe. Senate Bill 686 will change that. 

Dubbed the Health and Safety for All Workers Act, SB 686 was introduced in late February by Sen. Maria Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles). One of the bill’s co-authors, Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo (D-Glendale), represents part of the Valley.