"How will California 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? Dinner and a movie night may soon become much more complicated.
California Assembly Bill 889 will require these protections for all “domestic employees,” including nannies, housekeepers and caregivers. The bill has already passed the Assembly and is quickly moving through the Senate with blanket support from the Democrat members that control both houses of the Legislature – and without the support of a single Republican member. Assuming the bill will easily clear its last couple of legislative hurdles, AB 889 will soon be on its way to the Governor's desk.
Under AB 889, household “employers” (aka “parents”) who hire a babysitter on a Friday night will be legally obligated to pay at least minimum wage to any sitter over the age of 18 (unless it is a family member), 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.
Failure to abide by any of these provisions may result in a legal cause of action against the employer ("parents") including cumulative penalties, attorneys' fees, legal costs and expenses associated with hiring expert witnesses, an unprecedented measure of legal recourse provided no other class of workers – from agricultural laborers to garment manufacturers."
I know this is exactly the kind of thing you would expect me to oppose, but I have decided this is exactly the kind of thing California needs. I am tired of average citizens passing crazy requirements on business without any concept of the costs and injustices they are proposing, and then scratch their head later wonder why job creation is stagnant.
I want to propose that California do MORE in this same vein. Here are some suggestions:
- Every household will have to register for a license to conduct any type of commerce, a license to occupy their house, and a license to hire any employees. Homeowner will as a minimum have to register to withhold income taxes, pay social security taxes, pay unemployment insurance, pay disability insurance, and pay workers comp insurance.
- Households should have to file a 1099 for every payment they make to contractors
- All requirements of Obamacare must be followed for any household labor, including payment of penalties for even part-time labor for which the homeowner does not provide medical insurance
- No alcohol may be purchased by any individual without first applying for and receiving a state liquor license
- No cigarettes may be purchased by any individual without first applying for and receiving a state cigarette license
- No over the counter drugs may be purchased by any individual without first applying for and receiving a state over the counter drug license
- No eggs may be purchased by any individual without first applying for and receiving a state egg license
- Any injuries of any type in the household must be reported to OSHA
- Form EEO-1 must be filed once a year to catalog the race and gender of anyone who did any work in the home
- Any time one has a dispute in court with another citizen or an employee, they will now be treated the same as businesses in California, which means that the presumption, irregardless of facts, will be strongly in favor of any employee and against the homeowner, and in favor of any other party in any dispute whose net worth is perceived by the jury as less than the homeowner's.
- At least once a year the home's kitchen must be inspected and certified by both the fire marshal and the health department. Any deficiencies must be immediately repaired before the kitchen can be used. All code requirements for commercial kitchens will apply to household kitchens, including requirements for a three-basin washup sink, separate mop sink, and fire extinguishers
- All homes will be inspected once per year for ADA compliance. All parts of the home must be wheelchair accessible, even if there are currently no handicapped residents in residence. Homes more than one-story tall will require an elevator. All counters must be of the proper height, and all bathrooms must have ADA fixtures.
- Each home will be required to prominently display all its required licenses as well as state and federal information posters for workers.
- All homes will be audited at least once every three years to ensure that use taxes have been filed and paid on all out of state Internet purchases
- Material Safety Data Sheets must be on file for all household cleaning products and other chemicals and available for inspection by the fire marshal
- All gas tanks (car, lawnmower, portable 5-gallon) will be treated just like commercial gasoline storage tanks, and require monthly leak / loss reporting. Annually, a complete spill prevention plan must be filed with the state.
- A stormwater discharge plan must be filed annually with the state
- Any dropped thermometer or CFL bulb will require homeholder to call out (and pay disposal costs) of a state hazmat team
- Lifeguards are required at all home pools during daylight hours
- Households should file property tax returns in the same way that businesses must, listing individually every single piece of personal property they own, from their car to their lawnmower to the pink flamingo in the front yard.
- Homeowner must track the number of days any guests stay in their house so they can file and pay lodging taxes on a monthly basis
- Any homeowner who hauls a boat or trailer on US highways must register with the Department of Transportation and receive a DOT number. They must keep full driver logs and maintenance records available for DOT audit and inspection, and every driver must be drug-tested at least once per year.
- All food on pantry shelves must meet all state labeling laws
- At each entrance to the house, a sign warming those entering must be posted warning that certain cancer causing chemicals may be present
Finally, after spending the entire day complying with these rules, the homeowner must read at least 3 posts each day from progressive blogs explaining why anyone who complains about such rules as unreasonable is just a reactionary who doesn't really know how to run his business very well, and they could certainly do better.
Postscript: Every single item on this list is something my company has been required to do. I am sure I left a bunch out.