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06 Oct

October 2020: Safety Protections Extended to Domestic Workers

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What happened?
On September 29, 2020, Governor Newsom passed AB 2568. This extends protections that previously excluded domestic workers by not considering them an “employee,” to now include them.

What are the details?
This bill, for purposes of the hazard provisions, defines the term “employee” to include a domestic work employee, except for a person who performs household domestic service that is publicly funded, including publicly funded household domestic service provided to a recipient, client, or beneficiary with a share of cost in that service. AB 2568 makes it a crime for a person, after receiving notice to evacuate or leave, to willfully and knowingly direct an employee to remain in, or enter, an area closed under prescribed provisions of law due to a menace to the public health or safety, including an employee employed for household domestic work, except as specified. For these purposes, the bill states that the
term “employee” includes a person who performs household domestic service that is publicly funded. Additionally, the bill makes it illegal for an employer to fire a domestic worker for refusing to work in a violation of an occupational health in safety law that creates a “real and apparent” hazard to the employee or to fellow employees.

Finally, AB 2568 includes Labor Code section 6311.5, which prohibits employer from “willfully and knowingly” directing a domestic work employee to remain in or enter an area that poses a public health or safety concern. A violation of this Code will be considered a misdemeanor under California’s Penal Code.

The full text of AB 2568 can be found here.

An article summarizing the bill can be found here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers with domestic workers should provide training to managers and supervisors about the new restrictions placed on them regarding what they may require of domestic workers. Employers should pay special attention to the rights afforded by this bill and ensure that management is aware of them, in order to avoid violations.