You’re all gussied up—hairspray, earrings, stilettos, ready for a romantic night out with just you and your honey. The doorbell rings: it’s the babysitter. You’ve got your emergency phone numbers ready, first aid kit handy, even a frozen pizza on the counter to make sure no one goes hungry.
As you open the door, the babysitter hands you a form. It’s her agreement. It requires you to provide minimum wage, workers’ comp insurance, a timecard, a paycheck and overtime pay, just in case your dinner and a movie lasts longer than 8 hours. Also, she’s brought a friend to cover her dinner break and rest. Nope, this isn’t a sleep-deprivation-induced nightmare--this is a bill, AB 889, now pending in the California State Senate, also known as “the Babysitter’s Bill.”
The legislation would apply to all domestic workers, including nannies, housekeepers and even just occasional caregivers over the age of 18, and would require that they be given mandatory breaks, including a 10-minute break for every four hours worked and a 30-minute meal break after five hours. Family members used as caregivers would be exempt, but otherwise, parents are concerned that hiring one babysitter may actually mean hiring two, in order to provide coverage for the first during breaks, reports NBC Los Angeles. Parents would also be required to provide their “domestic employees,” again, including occasional babysitters, with timecards and paychecks. If parents choose to ignore the regulations, domestic workers could take legal action against them.
Protection for domestic workers is one thing, but maybe the definition of “domestic employees” is too broad here—a full-time nanny is one thing, but the every-other-Saturday-night-sitter from down the street? She’s another.
What do you think? Should occasional babysitters be offered these kinds of benefits? Would this prevent you from ever squeezing in a date night?