For the last few years, I've used the following analogy when trying to get people to understand how regulations and government involvement can discourage businesses from hiring employees:
When you hire a babysitter, do you look forward to withholding and paying her taxes? Do you feel obligated to provide for her health insurance? Do you believe that babysitters should be unionized, without benefit of a secret ballot election, and that you should then be forced to hire ONLY union babysitters? Would collecting taxes, providing healthcare, and paying more for union babysitters cause you to hire more or less of them?
What I try to do is convince people that if they had to provide babysitter healthcare, rest breaks, retirement plans, 401K's, tax withholding, and the like, they would simply hire fewer babysitters. People probably wouldn't hire any babysitters.
I use this example because in my mind, providing babysitter benefits is the most unlikely, stupidest proposal that I can think of.
But I forgot about California.
How will 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.
Assembly Bill 889 (authored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, 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 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. (On the bright side, language requiring an hour of paid vacation time for every 30 hours worked was amended out of the bill in the Senate.)
Unfortunately, the unreasonable costs and risks contained in this bill will discourage folks from hiring housekeepers, nannies and babysitters and increase the use of institutionalized care rather than allowing children, the sick or elderly to be cared for in their homes. I can't help but wonder if that is the goal of AB 889 – a terrible bill that needs to be stopped.
No matter how far I try to stretch reality, no matter what dumbassed imaginary example I create, they always find a way to outdo me. Unbelievable.
Go here to read the entire bill.