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Personal Attendants Eligible for Overtime Pay

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Sacramento, CAFor personal attendants who have long been subject to unpaid overtime, the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights now provides them with overtime pay. The problem could be making sure their employers actually follow California’s overtime pay laws. Employers who would prefer to continue paying their personal attendants a day rate for time worked will find themselves on the wrong side of the law.

Many employers offered their personal attendants - people employed as caregivers, housekeepers, maids and childcare providers - a flat “day rate.” That day rate might have sounded great to some personal attendants, but considering that day rate did not include overtime and often involved long hours - up to 24 hours a day - many personal attendants were not even making half of what they should have made.

According to Daniel Chaleff, some personal attendants were paid from $80 to $120 per day for 24 hours worked, while under the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, they should be paid $283.50 for the day. In other words, domestic workers paid $80 a day for 24 hours of work made approximately one-fourth of what they should be paid under the new law.

Under the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, personal attendants must be paid overtime for any time worked above nine hours in a day, and that overtime must be paid at one-and-one-half times the regular rate of pay. Further, personal attendants must be paid a minimum of $9 an hour for the first nine hours worked, putting the overtime rate at $13.50 per hour.

Personal attendants are domestic workers who spend at least 80 percent of their time supervising, feeding, dressing and/or caring for a person. Many employers opt to pay their personal attendants on a day rate rather than an hourly basis, a practice that is no longer legal under the new laws. Personal attendants whose employers refuse to pay them overtime may be eligible to file a lawsuit against their employer for unpaid wages.

Those lawsuits can result in employees being awarded unpaid wages and damages, depending on the circumstances of the overtime law violation. Prior to the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights being enacted, some personal attendants filed lawsuits to obtain overtime wages. If they were found to spend less than 20 percent of their time in other duties - such as housekeeping, monitoring blood pressure and so on - then they were found to be exempt from overtime pay, an exemption some employers used to avoid paying overtime wages.

READ ABOUT CALIFORNIA OVERTIME LAWSUITS

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READER COMMENTS

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I am totally quadriplegia disabled veteran which require 24/7 personal care attendant, whereas my spouse provide all my care and get no compensation either from the Veterans Administration or Social security. What should do????

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