All domestic workers must be paid at least the state’s minimum wage. Whether or not a live-in worker is entitled to overtime pay will depend on the number of hours worked. During the workweek, live-in workers are entitled to 12 consecutive hours off during each 24-hour period, as well as three hours off during the time that they are working. For instance, a live-in nanny may work from 9 am to 9 pm, with a three-hour break for lunch. Additionally, live-in workers are also entitled to a consecutive 24-hour break for every five days that they work.
If an employee works more than these hours, he or she is entitled to overtime pay. Live-in employees should receive time-and-a-half for any time worked after nine hours in a single day. If the employee is required to work on a sixth or seventh consecutive day without 24-hours off, then he or she should receive 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for the first nine hours worked on both the sixth and seventh days. If the employee works more than nine hours on these days, or is required to continue working additional hours or days without a break, then the employer is obligated to pay the live-in employee double his or her regular rate of pay.
Some employers have tried to avoid paying overtime to domestic workers by paying their employees a fixed salary. While employers are allowed to pay domestic workers a salary, the salary only covers the employee’s standard work week according to the rules listed above. No matter what the employer and employee agreed to, California law requires employers to pay salaried domestic employees overtime if their hours warrant it.
It is important to note that the law makes a distinction between domestic workers and personal attendants. A domestic worker is generally someone who cares for the home and its occupants, like a housekeeper, nanny, gardener, or chef. In contrast, a personal attendant is a caregiver for someone who is elderly, sick, or disabled. Personal attendants do not care for the house. If a personal attendant spends more than 20% of his or her time every week on non-caretaking duties like housekeeping, then that person will be considered a domestic worker.
Personal attendants may also be entitled to overtime, depending on other factors such as whether they work in a private home, or are paid under government programs. These workers may be entitled to 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for any work over 9 hours in a single day or over 45 hours in a single week.
Live-in workers who are being underpaid by their employers have a right to file a lawsuit against their employer in court as well as file a complaint with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. Workers pay be able to recover several years of back pay in addition to other damages and penalties.
Sacramento, CA 95821