California Babysitter Bill Would Make All Parents Go Broke

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babysitterIt's a hard and fast rule of parenting. When you find a good babysitter, you treat her (or him) like gold. But I always thought that meant a good tip for making sure the kid's room was clean and their pick of the prime leftovers in the fridge. The State of California, on the other hand, may soon say your babysitter deserves breaks. Every two hours. And you'd have to bring in an alternate caregiver to make it happen.

Geez. How about diamonds on a platter while we're at it? Caviar? A Ferrari to drive around?

Assembly Bill 889 has already passed the state's Assembly and is moving through the Senate. It will apply to all “domestic employees,” including nannies, housekeepers, and caregivers age 18 and up (unless they're a family member -- so feel free to treat your niece and college-age son like they were born to do your bidding). Parents will be required to pay at least minimum wage. They'll also have to "provide a substitute caregiver every two hours to cover rest and meal breaks, in addition to workers' compensation coverage, overtime pay, and a meticulously calculated timecard/paycheck."

Are you getting this folks? Not only do you have to do the impossible of tracking down a responsible college kid to hang with your tot on a Friday night so you can actually sit down for one meal where you don't have to cut up someone else's food. Now you have to find TWO of them. And the second one will have to agree to just show up every two hours for 15 minutes at minimum wage. AND you're going to have to explain to your 3-year-old why Miss Madison has to get up from the rousing game of SpongeBob Memory to go outside and take a break while this other guy comes in ... for 15 minutes.

If it didn't make me want to cry, I'd be laughing hysterically at this one.

Apparently it's been a long time since any of these legislators hung out with some children. Or God forbid, had to actually track down a sitter for date night.

At its very core, the bill has some merits. My babysitters stick with me because I treat them like family, but I've heard horror stories. The woman who wanted them to babysit all day every day in the summer, and all she thought they should get in exchange was meals at her house during the day. And certainly full-time domestic help should not be in the same boat as the college kid who comes over to play Wii with your kid every once in awhile.

But that's just it. Your standard babysitter is not on par with a full-time housekeeper. Not only are they not working for you on a consistent basis -- making all that paperwork difficult to put together -- but theirs is a job that can't be planned out to the letter. My main sitter spends all day with my daughter. She eats with her. She plays with her. Sometimes she naps with her. Her "breaks" are on my kid's schedule, just like her meals. That's the nature of childcare.

We have dozens of jobs in this country that don't afford the worker these kinds of perks -- because they would interfere too much with the job itself or because they're too punitive on smaller employers. Legislators in California need to look at the job and look at the employers in this case and get some common sense before this bill makes it into the law books.

Can you imagine giving your babysitter a break every two hours? Would this mean no more date night ... ever?


Image via Arild Langtind/Flickr

economy, in the news, human rights

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ChicH... ChicHippie

This is stupid and it makes me really glad that both sets of grandparents and even several great grandparents live closeby (sort of). Although come to think of it I never leave my son for more than 2 hours anyway.. he is EBF and refuses to take a bottle anymore. I don't see a date in our future for awhile!

TC00 TC00

I am a full time nanny and although I would LOVE LOVE LOVE a real break I know it's impossible.  My breaks are when the kiddo naps, and it is nice but it would be a lot nicer if I was truly on break when the kiddo naps...meaning I can run up to the store and buy my lunch without kiddo in tow.  BUT again that's impossible and I knew that when I decided to become a nanny so I don't complain about it.  I work 10 hour days every single day without a true break but that's the nature of the job.


I think if this bill was to go through it's going to cause major problems, or to an smart entrepreneur a new job market.  Hmm maybe I can start a business where I go around to different homes to allow the nannies a break, hmmmmmm

Momma... Momma2blessed

So can this apply to stay at home moms... It's my "employment" so can expect mandated breaks?!? Lol

Melis... Melissa042807

If the babysitter gets a break, Mommy wants a damn break. Where's my law???

dirti... dirtiekittie

this is just rubbish, and it's the state's way of trying to get more money into its dying economy. i would know - i live here. fortunately, i have family who watches my kids, but i pay them. the issue here is not that they are concerned with the welfare of the nannies or the babysitters or "domestic help" as they call it. what this does is pump additional employer taxes and employee taxes to the state. CA is broke and they are looking for any bandaid that they can find.


i know this because i fell victim to it on my state taxes. i pay my mil to watch our children, and she is a licensed caregiver. however, she also shares our home (she has a room and garage / living room area for herself to be away from the kids when needed). now, she filed her taxes and paid like she was supposed to, so she told me to deduct the childcare expense, which i did. guess what? a year later (YES, a YEAR!) i got a letter from the state of CA that because we shared the same address, i was subject to either pay my "employer back taxes, social security & medical benefits" or i could just pay them back the measly $115 credit they gave me for the child care. guess which route i took?


it's just a big giant leech coming to suck the dollars out of our pockets because they've got nowhere else to get it from. and i suspect that it could have something to do with undocumented workers providing childcare for families while not here in a legal fashion, if you get what i'm sayin'... and i'm just sayin'...

meatb... meatball77

So you have to hire two nannies?


It's like they want to punish poor and middle class working women.  No one except the super rich can afford to hire caregivers with those conditions and daycares are also very expensive.

purpl... purpleducky

So why don't parents get breaks every 2 hours too? And where is my paycheck for watching my kids? I want to make minimum wage too.

nmmama09 nmmama09

This is stupid. When I used to babysit, my breaks were when the kids napped. Or if they wanted to watch a movie, that was my opportunity to sit and chill with them. I think every babysitter goes into the job knowing it is going to be hard work. Now, forget having to find ONE babysitter your kids are comfortable with and you trust fully, you have to find two?

SandM... SandMsMama

this would be devastating to single moms... and babysitters... so who exactly is this law looking out for??? California needs to lay down the pot and wake up!

Ashleigh Munson

^it's looking out for the state! They want the tax revenues.

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