Stupidest bill ever

California Democrats are on their way to passing the “babysitting bill” —  or the end-of-babysitting bill.

Assembly Bill 889 requires a 15-minute rest break after two hours of work for domestic employees, including nannies, housekeepers, caregivers for the elderly and disabled and babysitters 18 or older (excluding family members).  It also requires a 30-minute meal break after five hours, worker’s comp, overtime and minimum wage, though the paid vacation was amended out. Employers must provide detailed pay stubs to domestic employees, including part-timers. The text of the bill is here.

It will ruin life for working mothers, writes Julie Ryan Evans on The Stir.

So pretty much forget ever going on a date night again, and as for us working moms — we’re totally screwed. Minimum wage, I get, and most people I know pay much more than $7.25 an hour for a sitter. But the rest of it is asinine and just another burden on women who work outside the home to support their families. It’s not even good for the babysitters!

The rest breaks in particular are just ridiculous because that means someone else would have to come in and cover for their breaks every two hours. If you’re a parent, you know how hard it is to find one good sitter, much less two; good luck finding one who’s willing to work for 15 minutes at a time.

. . . babysitting isn’t like an office job. The kids nap, they sleep at night, you can sit down and watch a movie with them from time to time, and even eat when they eat.

The sponsor, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, claims babysitters aren’t considered domestic employees, though the law says otherwise.  Ammiano says the bill will protect housekeepers and caregivers for the elderly and disabled from exploitation. He’s protecting caregivers out of a job.

Imagine an elderly woman who forgets that she’s too frail to walk. One fall broke her neck and the next could kill her.  Imagine a dying man who needs help with his oxygen and his meds. Do you hire a caregiver who steps out every two hours for 15 minutes? Or do you give up on home care and call the nursing home?

The bill passed the Assembly with no Republican votes and is now in the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats. I predict the publicity will kill it before it reaches the desk of Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown. Lots of Democrats hire babysitters and caregivers.

About Joanne


  1. They should call it the “Underground Economy Enabling Act of 2011”, because what will happen is just about every caregiver, babysitter, and other person hired by an individual will go into the underground economy. I’d guess that at least 50% of such people are already hired “outside normal channels” and paid cash.

  2. tim-10-ber says:

    Oh geez…hope this stays in California!

  3. Yes, because employers of domestic help in California are famous for following the law to the very letter.

  4. Obi-Wandreas says:

    If you really want to be depressed, consider this: someone so sand-poundingly stupid so as to think this is a good idea is probably not the sort to have intelligent ideas about many other things. And these are the people who were elected here by the majority, who obviously thought that what they were saying on various issues made sense.

  5. Bill Leonard says:

    Obi-Wandreas, you are, of course, absolutely right. Though in practical terms, we’re talking about kids who are 13 to 15 years old or so, and I suspect the law will simply be ignored by everyone who is not a fan of the idiot Ammiano, I would guess that this measure, if passed, will at some point create problems for someone upstream.

    …And there remain large numbers of cretins who continue to wonder why California stumbles along, foundering, while businesses and productive people continue to move out of state and take their skills. and resources with them.

    I have long felt that Hemingway had the right idea: a lot of the country’s probelms could be solved by a three-day open season on people…

  6. I support the minimum wage and also the overtime provision (if your nanny is working more than 40 hours per week, you should be paying her overtime). The break and the detailed pay stubs provisions are ridiculous, however.

  7. The only logical conclusion is that California is economically, politically, and culturally suicidal. Which is bad for a federal union of states. If one goes down, it’ll take several others with it, at a minimum. And given California’s size and population compared to the rest of the USA, it may be the state that ends up bringing the whole house down… Sad.

  8. Richard Aubrey says:

    Several weeks ago, I happened to be talking to an acquaintance at church. She and her husband are greenie libs. She suffers from serious asthma and frequenetly wears a surgical mask when out in public. I said, “I understand the best inhalers are now illegal. [apparently the best inhalers use a gas that is considered to be a threat to all life on earth on account of the ozone hole]. She nodded, sadly, and mentioned that the FDA had made something else she thought she needed, mashed walnuts or something, is also no longer to be available.
    I muttered to myself, not entirely to myself, “I didn’t vote for these clowns.” Felt good about it all day.
    If I lived in CA, I could say that a dozen times a day, to a good many people who would be absolutely clueless. What, negative results from stupid voting?
    Still, good fun.
    It would be hard to think of a more striking example of ideology–if such idiocy is even as organized as an ideology–making things worse and the perps (voters) having not the slightest idea there may be a connection.
    As they say, it would be funny….

    • What gas are you talking about? I’m trying to figure out if you’re patting yourself on the back for not voting for Democratic clowns, Republican clowns, or if you’re simply expressing self-satisfaction that you don’t vote directly for FDA bureaucrats and thus can be smug no matter how you vote.

  9. It’s a gift to the daycare center industry.

  10. Cranberry, you’re probably correct. I was trying to understand why people would write and pass this law; you’ve now explained it to me.

  11. I think it was a well-intentioned attempt to tackle a problem that does exist even in America- exploitation of domestic workers. The biggest offenders seem to be affluent immigrants, particularly those from the Middle East or Asia. I guess those folks are used to the way servants are (mis)treated back in their home countries, and don’t understand that things here in the U.S. are different.

    I just think that this particular bill overreaches.

  12. It is a gift to the unions, more generally. Makes it hard to hire an over-18 babysitter or nanny, and also to hire a home healthcare worker for the elderly. Instead, you put your kid in daycare (where other legislation is working to require workers to be certified teachers who will be members of CTA or AFT) and your elders in nursing care, where workers are increasingly unionized.