California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed legislation this week that would have made domestic workers eligible for a range of labor protections and benefits, as well as make it easier to qualify for workers compensation. 

A.B. 889 would have eliminated a requirement that domestic workers perform at least 52 hours and earn more than $100 in the 90 days preceding the date of injury to be eligible for workers comp coverage. It also would have directed the state to develop break, overtime, minimum sleep standards and other protections for domestic workers there. 

Good for the Governor. A bit of executive sanity prevails on the left coast after all. This bill would have been a regulatory nightmare for people who employ every type of domestic worker, from house cleaners to the teenage babysitter next door. Imagine having to hire two babysitters – one to provide rest, meal and sleep breaks for the primary sitter. Perhaps a break room so that the cleaning lady can catch a much needed (and mandatory) nap? And that elderly person in need of home assistance might find the state would be insistent on their need to hire an assistants assistant.

AB 889 was a “reach too far”, where the ever creeping nanny state tried to crawl into the protective realm of, well, nannying. 

We can’t continually be “all protecting” or be everything to everyone. There are some situations where common sense just needs to prevail. This is particularly true when you are dealing in the home environment, where mandating traditional business rules is difficult at best, and blatantly unfair at worst. Certainly this veto disturbed some domestics and got a few nanny’s goats, but it was the right thing to do. 

Even an old liberal goat like Jerry Brown can see that.


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