Employers who pay workers by the day are either unaware that in home care overtime violations apply to personal assistants, or they are knowingly breaking the law. The “unaware” excuse is a stretch, given that AB 241 has been in effect since January 2014. Chances are, employers who violate domestic worker overtime laws wouldn’t think twice about charging for overtime at their place of business. And they often “forget” that their home aides have families of their own.
Personal assistants, or personal attendants, are classified as domestic workers because they work in someone’s home. The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights law requires that personal attendants who work in private households must be paid a minimum of $9 an hour for the first 9 hours of work, and time-and-a-half - $13.50 - for more than 9 hours worked in a day. (The only exception to this law applies to certain relatives.) These popular day rates are typically $80 to $120 per day. If a personal attendant is required to work 24 hours in a day (such as a live-in attendant), the current minimum wage with overtime must be calculated at $283.50 per day. Clearly, this amount is well above the average day rate.
If an employer fails to pay overtime, a domestic worker - including caregivers, housekeepers, maids, childcare providers and personal assistants - can file a home aides overtime lawsuit against their employer. A domestic worker who files a California overtime lawsuit can potentially recover unpaid wages and overtime. As well, compensation can include reasonable attorney’s fees, associated litigation costs, interest and penalties.
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The Domestic Worker Bill of Rights law contains a “sunset” provision, which means it is only in effect until January 1, 2017. After that date, the law will be repealed unless another statute is enacted. To determine whether another statute is enacted, Governor Jerry Brown will convene a committee - including personal attendants and their employers - to report on the effects of the law. Until that time, California employment attorneys may see an increase in home care overtime lawsuits.