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Calif. Bill Would Mandate Minimum Wage & Breaks for Babysitters

"Dinner and a movie night may soon become much more complicated."

Date night may be getting a little more complicated for couples with children in California.

If a labor protection bill passes in the state, parents may be required to pay their babysitters over the age of 18 minimum wage plus overtime, allow a 10-minute rest every four hours and a half-hour meal break after five hours, according to a report from ABC News. The bill would apply to all caregivers and domestic workers, including nannies, housekeepers and those who look after the elderly.

San Francisco Democrat Tom Ammiano said he authored bill AB 889 with the intention of extending labor protections for workers caring for the disabled and elderly, but other elected officials say the loose language allows the proposed legislation to apply to many more kinds of caretakers.

Under the bill, workers would get more than quick breathers or short lunch breaks. Caregivers who live in or work 24-hour shifts would gain the right to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep, and those working more than five consecutive hours would be allowed to use their employers' kitchens free of charge to cook their own food. The only exceptions written into AB 889 are for family members used as babysitters or caregivers.

"How will parents react when they find out they will be expected to provide workers' compensation benefits, rest and meal breaks and paid vacation time for…babysitters?" Republican Sen. Doug LaMalfa asked in a written statement on Tuesday. "Dinner and a movie night may soon become much more complicated."

Ammiano's office called LaMalfa's comments "wild accusations" and said they were unjustified.

"The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights is not about babysitters," Ammiano said in a statement on Wednesday. "It's about extending the same basic labor protections that all other California workers already have to the 200,000 domestic workers who provide care to our disabled and elderly."

Parents throughout California are voicing their opinions on Facebook.

"What about mandatory breaks for moms? or do you only get a break if you're PAID to do it? Lame law!" (sic) wrote Jennifer Warren.

While some are just laughing, others say they think the law could introduce a safety issue, because they would be incentivized  to hire a younger (less than 18-year-old) babysitter who may have less experience performing normal babysitting tasks such as picking kids up from school or taking them to the pool.

Here's ABC's report on what's being nicknamed the 'Babysitter's Bill.'

One last thing…
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