California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Thursday that will temporarily require that domestic workers in the state receive overtime pay if they work more than nine hours in a day or 45 hours in a week, after he vetoed a previous version of the law last year.
The law, effective January 2014, applies to all domestic workers including live-in nannies and health care providers. Baby sitters are exempt from the mandate. The overtime will last only through 2017 unless it is renewed by the state legislature.
"Domestic workers are primarily women of color, many of them immigrants, and their work has not been respected in the past," the bill's author, Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco, said in a statement. "Now, they will be entitled to overtime, like just about every other California working person."
Ammiano has been the driving force behind overtime pay for domestic workers for the past three years. The original bill included a required meal and rest break for housekeepers, nannies and health care workers for the disabled and elderly, but they were removed from the final version.
Brown vetoed the bill last year because of his concern about cost increases associated with the proposed breaks Ammiano initially sought to include in the bill.
The Democratic governor announced the bill's signing through Twitter, saying in a post that it would "help California’s domestic workers." The post included a picture from the signing ceremony, with Brown surrounded by supporters.
Labor groups say domestic workers, who are often female immigrants, are are often unprotected under labor and employment laws. With the passage of Assembly Bill 241, California becomes the third state to grant overtime pay to domestic workers, after New York and Hawaii.
"We think this is a huge victory for domestic workers around the country to follow California’s suit," said National Domestic Workers Alliance Communications Director Rosana Reyes. "I would say the overwhelming support from all these different sectors, including employers in the elder and disabled community, were huge" in persuading Brown to sign the bill.
The governor will have to appoint a committee composed of workers and their employers to report on the effects of the law.
Dexter Mullins contributed to this report. With Al Jazeera and The Associated Press.