California Business Attorneys Expect Increase in Home Care Overtime Lawsuits

Law Firm Newswire



Sacramento, CA (Law Firm Newswire) December 15, 2014 – Paying day rates to in-home care workers is illegal, as their setup does not make allowances for overtime pay.

California AB 241 went into effect more than ten months ago. It is designed to protect in-home care workers from labor violations. However, there are still numerous reports of illegal overtime pay violations in this sector, as well as complaints relating to missed meal breaks and rest periods.

The standard practice had been to pay in-home labor day rates, but this became illegal under California’s Domestic Worker Bill of Rights because there are no provisions for overtime. Labor laws apply to personal care aides as well as traditional places of commerce.

Personal care aides, assistants and attendants are classified as domestic workers because they work in someone’s home. Thus, according to the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights, personal aides working in private care settings must be paid a minimum of $9.00/hour for the first 9 hours of work. Anything over 9 hours and the wage jumps to $13.50/hour, which is time-and-a-half. The only exceptions to the rates of pay in this legislation relate to personal relatives.

Domestic workers, including aides, childcare workers, caregivers, maids and housekeepers, may file an overtime lawsuit against their employer if they are not paid overtime according to the law. They may ask the court to award them their unpaid wages, overtime, penalties, interest, attorney’s fees and reimbursement for other litigation costs.

“Despite the passage of California AB 241, the number of home care overtime lawsuits is currently increasing. Either employers do not know about the bill, or they do know about it and are deliberately choosing to violate it. It is difficult to believe that this legislation has been in effect since January 2014 and that there are even more overtime lawsuits than before,” outlined Sacramento business attorney Deborah Barron.

For a 24-hour workday, if a care aide lives in the home full-time, he or she should make, with mandatory overtime included, $283.50. But instead, many in-home care workers receive a day rate only, which typically runs $80 to $120 a day.

”It’s disappointing to note that this bill has a sunset clause and is only in effect until January 1, 2017. After that time, it will be repealed unless something else is legislated to replace it. The plan is to strike a committee to determine how well the bill worked. It may turn out to be a controversial committee, as it is to be comprised of employers and in-home care workers. The point of contention may well be having to pay a higher wage,” added Barron.

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