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Domestic Employees & Personal Attendants

California’s Domestic Worker Bill of Rights was enacted in 2013. It extends overtime protections to certain employees who work in private homes. Because domestic employees were excluded from these protections for so long, you or your employer may not realize that you are now entitled to overtime.

Who is Protected by the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights?

You are protected if you work in someone’s house, either caring for people or maintaining the premises. If you are a nanny, cook, caregiver, personal attendant, housekeeper, childcare provider, or something similar, you are a domestic worker. However, if you provide these services to a parent, spouse, child, or grandchild, you are not covered by the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights. If you have questions about your rights, call a local employment attorney to protect your rights.

What Overtime Protections are Provided by the Domestic Worker Bill Of Rights?

This depends on whether you are a personal attendant or some other domestic worker. A personal attendant must work in a private household and spend at least 80% of their working time supervising, feeding, and dressing a child or dependent adult. If you spend less than 80% of your working time on such activities, you are not a personal attendant. Cooking, cleaning, repairing things, and performing other errands are not considered “supervising, feeding, and dressing.”

A personal attendant is entitled to daily overtime at 1.5 times their hourly rate for all hours worked beyond 9 hours in one day, and to weekly overtime at 1.5 times their hourly rate for all hours worked beyond 45 hours in one workweek. A personal attendant is not eligible for double time pay.

Overtime for any other domestic worker depends on how many days that worker has worked in a workweek:

First 5 days: You are entitled to daily overtime at 1.5 times your hourly rate for all hours worked beyond 9 hours in one day.

6th and 7th day: The first 9 hours you work are overtime at 1.5 times your hourly rate. You are then entitled to double time at twice your hourly rate for all hours worked beyond 9 hours on either of these days. However, the 6th or 7th day must be consecutive to the first 5 days; otherwise, they are treated the same as the first 5 days.

Example 1: Elsa works in El Cerrito caring for an elderly woman, who is unable to care for herself. Elsa lives in a spare room in the woman’s house. Elsa’s hourly rate is $16 per hour. The woman’s adult son also lives in the house, but he is unable to care for her from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM Monday through Saturday. Elsa always has the day off on Sunday. The woman rings a bell when she needs help with feeding or dressing, and Elsa is required to check on her every 5 minutes to make sure she is safe and comfortable. Elsa spends 85% of the time from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM Monday-Saturday supervising, feeding, and dressing the woman, and she spends the remaining 15% of that time cooking for her. Elsa is considered a personal attendant. She works 12 hours a day and 72 hours a week. On Monday, she is to be paid 9 hours at $16 per hour, and 3 hours at $24 per hour. On Tuesday, she is again paid 9 hours at $16 per hour and 3 hours at $24 per hour. On Wednesday, once more, she is paid 9 hours at $16 per hour and 3 hours at $24 per hour. On Thursday, she is paid 9 hours at $16 per hour and 3 hours at $24 per hour. Before Friday, she has already worked 48 hours that week. The remaining 24 hours that she works on Friday and Saturday are considered weekly overtime, and she is to be compensated at $24 per hour for all such hours.

Example 2: Conrad works in Concord as a cook and handyman in a family’s private home. He lives on site. His hourly rate is $16 per hour. He works 10 hours a day, Monday-Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. Friday is his day off. Conrad is a domestic worker, but is not a personal attendant. On Monday-Thursday, he is to be paid at $16 per hour for the first 9 hours, and $24 per hour for the 10th hour. Although he works on Saturday and Sunday, he does not work 6 or 7 consecutive days in the week, so the first 9 hours on Saturday and Sunday are paid at $16 per hour and the 10th hour on each day is paid at $24 per hour.

Example 3: Francis works in San Francisco as a nanny in a family’s private home. She lives on site and is paid $16 per hour. She works 10 hours a day, Monday-Saturday. Sunday is her day off. Francis is a domestic worker, but is not a personal attendant. On Monday-Friday, she is to be paid $16 per hour for the first 9 hours each day, and $24 per hour for the 10th hour each day. Because Saturday is her 6th consecutive day, she is to be paid at $24 per hour for the first 9 hours and $32 per hour for the 10th hour.

If your domestic employer has failed to pay you overtime, or has not calculated it correctly, call the wage and hour attorneys at Spencer Young Law today for your free consultation!

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