Do You Support or Oppose the CA Domesitc Workers Bill of Rights?

APNA View of Proposed Laws for Household Workers
Risk to safety, business climate & tax collection

We have discussed the CA Domestic Workers Bill of Rights extensively on this blog. Some of the terms the bill had hoped to include (but some have been removed) are: the right to paid sick days and worker’s compensation if injured on the job, to report and to be compensated for the actual time worked, an annual minimum wage increase equal to the rate of the annual cost of living increase, and 21-days notice of termination.

On a poll on this blog (see in margin to the right) 76% of readers support or the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, 18% oppose the Bill, and 5% replied they don’t know.

Here is the opinion of the Association of Premier Nanny Agencies (APNA):

(November 2011) – Recent legislative activity in New York and California is shining a spotlight on labor laws for nannies and other household employees, reinforcing the presumption that in-home workers are frequently mistreated. “The California laws under consideration (AB889) go too far and if passed, could result in an increased underground of illegal domestic workers – putting them and those in their care at greater risk – and potentially driving businesses from the state, ” explains Daryl Camarillo , president of the Association of Premier Nanny Agencies – A Household Staffing Alliance (APNA ) .

One example of what California’s AB889 would do would be to require families to supply an additional caregiver to relieve a nanny for a documented 30-minute meal break and two, 10-minute rest breaks each day. “ Families who fail to do so would have to pay their nanny more or risk being sued by their nanny and finding themselves liable for lawyer’s fees, fines and court costs ,” says Denise Collins of San Francisco’s Aunt Ann’s In-House Staffing. “It’s impractical on so many levels. It almost defeats the purpose of hiring an in-home caregiver by adding additional costs and administrative duties for the family – not to mention, who will they find to take a job for 50-minutes a day – spread out throughout the day?”

“If these laws pass, parents could also be fined or sued for infractions such as failing to provide the nanny’s requested foods – even if a child in her care is allergic to one of the foods,” adds Camarillo. “The lawmakers’ intentions are good, but we predict passage of AB889 as it stands now would result in so many additional duties, risks and costs for families that many will resort to hiring under the table.”

Illegal hiring can drive down wages and reduce employment opportunities for legally-hired domestic employees. In addition, California’s business climate could suffer if it’s harder for parents to work because of burdensome childcare laws.”

A climate that encourages underground or “do-it-yourself” hiring also creates dangers people can’t foresee . “A perfect example is background checks. Most people don’t understand that the inexpensive ‘nationwide’ background check offered by many online listing services for nannies and babysitters isn’t really nationwide and isn’t very thorough,” says Camarillo.

“We’ve been working for years to sound the alarm that a proper background check involves human vetting, time and some cost. Quality agencies hire professionals to screen candidates before sending them on interviews. People who are hiring nannies, personal assistants, elder companions and housekeepers often don’t even consider that they should check for a criminal record – and they should .”

Respected household staffing agencies safeguard families and domestic workers by educating both sides about salaries, employment and tax laws that can vary widely from state to state, industry norms, and the importance of written work agreements.

“Legal, household employees are already well protected by existing state and federal laws governing human rights, disability, work conditions and overtime. Most earn more than minimum wage. In California their salaries range between $15 and $30 an hour which is taxed and contributes to their ability to collect social security, unemployment and other social safety nets tied to legal employment.”

California is often at the leading edge of social issues, so we want to communicate to its lawmakers, and those nationwide, that proposals such as AB889 might appear to increase worker protection, but unless the laws are carefully crafted, they could result in unintended consequences.”

•Daryl Camarillo, APNA president, (650) 462-4580 or
•Denise Collins, APNA vice president, ( 415) 749-3650
•Go to to find an APNA agency in your community and valuable information for families and people seeking household employment

APNA is a self-regulating organization that helps set the bar for industry standards and practices. APNA member agencies have their contracts, applications and business practices scrutinized by peers to ensure they know and follow all applicable laws. You are dealing with a quality household staffing service when you see the APNA seal.


  1. The same poor arguments and old arguments. The basic premise is that if the employer follows the law, the results will be so onerous that the employer will have to become a lawbreaker. The agencies do not want any law that will change their market. The proposed laws have not failed; the current system has failed to protect the nanny. Unlike the INA blog, this blog is willing to air both sides of the issue. Kudos to this site.

  2. Polly, sadly everything you say is true. No one is really interested in the rights of the worker. You see these groups advocate work agreements. Why would you need a work agreement for basic worker rights? I laugh at the foods child may be allergic to. I'm highly allergic to pine nuts. In several of my jobs the children have eaten pesto. At least once a week I come home with hives on my hands and wrists from mixing it. Also very sensitive to bell peppers, to the point of getting hives on hands from just touching and a severe gastric reaction. I cry "red herring" with that argument. Completely ridiculous. I know when friends of the children I care come over who allergic to various things, peanuts, tree nuts, etc., I go above and beyond to make sure they are protected. I don't know any nanny who would eat a food near a child who was severely anaphylactic and in fact, there are very few cases where the children are that allergic to something just being the room.Illegal hiring? It's CA. Several people employ illegals. In my personal experience Orange County, a highly Republican county hires most exclusively undocumented or under the table workers. People who want an english speaking nanny generally aren't hiring nannies or domestics for under minimum wage. All of this reminds me of the argument against minimum wage and it's bunk.

  3. I have been a vocal supporter of the bill because it just needs a tiny bit of tweaking + will be a great bill. We are not unpatriotic to want legislation to protct us. It sounds like apna thinks parents will hire illegals which is bull. Parents are using websites more than agencies because its already cheaper + easier to use. This bill won't hurt the nanny industry as much as technology + the free market. the lunch break + rest time should simply be edited to have in the house. nannies should be allowed to eat their lunch @ take a break, just not @ the expense of the children. in hime breaks or pay us xtra for that time. i strongfly feel agencies and nannies are becoming polarized. plenty of agencies dont support nanny rights of paying taxes, breaks, annual cost of living increase. i support this bill w/ some minor edits!

  4. I have been very very vocal about my support of this type of legislation. I think it's working well in NY. None of the dire the predictions have come true (like speculated by INA and APNA)in NY. I think this CA bill only needs to be edited for the lunch break. Once that is edited this bill is much needed.I am a high end, experienced and professional nanny making 6 figures and my boss has even forgotten to give me my annual cost of living raise. They are great people, it's a great job, but if it's not legistlated the employer can get busy and just forget. This is my only means of income. Busy parents isn't a good enough reason for me not to get my annual rasie. They don't expect their employers to forget their annual raise. APNA and INA oppose the bill because they are only thinking of the parents (not the workers). At least INA has nanny members but APNA is a few mortar and brick agencies who are sustained by parents. What I am reading today just sounds like fear and scare tactics again. Once the lunch break is edited the bill is a great thing for domestic workesrs.

  5. This bill / law will only help tax paying american's not illegals or those who break the law and don't pay taxes. Illegal immigrants and citizens who don't have a record of a job won't benefit because they fear penalties of deportation or fines (maybe jail) if they break the law by being here illegal or simply by evading the tax man.

  6. I disagree with the scenario provided in the article about lunch and rest breaks. I think we ought to be allowed these rights only in the house if it's safe such as when a baby naps. If we can't have a break during the day to sit and eat for half an hour (with or without the child) just pay us a little extra as you would at any other job.The food comments are ridiculous as well. If you have certian food allergies or religious beliefs you must discuss this before you start a job. No one in their right mind would work for a family that couldn't adhere to their needs. And vice versa. A parent would explain during an interview "We are kosher, if you can follow our family rules great, if not, this isn't the job for you." Same with peanut allergies, if you are allergic and the family can't budge and ask you to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, don't accept the job.It is estimated only 10% nannies pay taxes. So when you talk about hiring illegals you are refering to all nannies that don't pay taxes. Parents are already hiring nannies illegaly (off the books).The background check issue relates to nanny websites and I remember this nanny newsletter (BTBN) took has been taking polls each year and this year 90% found their current job on a nanny website. You don't need this bill to make parents do the job of finding nannies themselves. They are already doing it. I agree with APNA the background check is vital. It's sad parents and nannies are finding jobs online. But it's not because of this bill.

  7. Buffi makes a really good point. What I am taking away from her comments are that it's not like most parents follow current payroll and labor laws now. It's unlikely the bill would ever make much of a difference.

  8. If the APNA or the INA really had the interest of nannies at heart, they would the end of the government-sponsored au pair program. Of course, even though the program is outdated, agencies would never foresake such a good source of fees.

  9. Thanks for the comments above. I think I've had an "Aha" moment. Agencies have to focus on marketing against nanny websites and stop fighting against workers rights. Their competition are nanny websites, not better working condiditons for nannies. The whole lunch break issue will be changed before passing into law anyway. The real issue is they are getting pummeled by websites. I was hired using a high end nanny agency. I am getting married and moving and my boss found my replacement on sittercity. She's a super girl with masters in education degree. My boss is convinced. Just so much easier, she can choose who to interview, she paid for a background check. As much as I love my agency no reason for most parents to use them anymore. And if it's true most nannies are paid under the table then the whole bill is essentially a waste of time. No one who doesn't pay taxes would sue an employer. I'm not saying this is good for agencies or nannies. I love my agency. It's just they are fighting the wrong fight it seems to me.

  10. But Polly, INA and APNA don't run the au pair program. If you mean they should focus on getting rid of au pair program since au pairs are taking jobs out of American citizen pockets I would agree. But again, the government probably doesn't even have an accurate record of how many nannies there are since most don't have a record of payment (paid off the books).

  11. The CA bill isn't the same as the NY bill that passed because the CA bill has the lunch break issue and rest break issue. As it is written now I can't support it but once it's re-written I support it completely.

  12. I don't support bill as written. But that isn't the big problem for agencies. Their problem is that nannies and parents aren't using agencies as much anymore. The problem I have is that I don't know any nanny agency that ever fought for any labor rights for me. I have to negotiate ot all for myself even when I have used an agency. They send me to the interview but it's all up to me. That's why we all use websites now.I used to think they advocated for nannies but it's not really true, just for parents.Even so I can't support this bill for the lunch break. If that can really be changed then it's a great bill. The other reasons Denise points out really aren't issues. Obviously the food allergy would be discussed before taking a job. It may be "wrong" to ask religious questions but obviously you have to as a nanny if KOSHER would be an issue for either party. When in a personal home you have to ask questions regarding Kosher or allergies that you might not ask in the corporate world. I agree with other nannies that say the problem for nanny agencies is nanny websites. I agree fighting this bill isn't as important for them as trying to keep their business when most parents and nannies are using websites.

  13. I oppose it because the way it is written. I think comments above are going off point. This is about the bill and not agency vs web site.

  14. I'm tired of reading the same hypothetical scenarios that won't happen. "Risk to safety, business climate & tax collection" Are you kidding me? Why if you follow labor laws already then there is no risk to safety, business climate or tax collection. Hopefully this bill will encourage American nannies to get paid on the books actually. The nanny industry isn't working unregulated at this time. Nannies work in some awful environments for nearly nothing. The hypotheticals are stupid. Just fix some of the wording, pass it into law and we will all be better for it.

  15. Lovebeingananny….I could not agree more!

  16. Reading the comments I agree that the focus really needs to be on competition of nanny websites and au pairs but, I still love nanny agencies and hate nanny websites. I don't think we should sound like we are "bashing" nanny agencies. The bill needs to be edited. We all agree. But we do need this bill once edited. It's true agencies need to make themselves relevant when websites have taken over. But I still prefer using agencies if I can and want them to survive.

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