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Workers compensation disinformation


Word is going around on various websites and blogs that a California bill would require parents to provide workers comp benefits for babysitters.

Comp Time doesn’t believe it and several of the stories and blog postings seem overly alarmist.

One Fox Nation posting says “Dinner and a movie night may soon become much more complicated.” It says parents who hire a babysitter on a Friday night could be required to pay minimum wage, rest and meal breaks, in addition to workers comp benefits and overtime pay.

But I just looked up Assembly Bill 889.

The bill says it does not apply to “any person under 18 years of age who is employed as a babysitter for a minor child.”

I also looked up the average age of babysitters. A variety of websites peg it at 13 and several advise hiring babysitters with ages averaging from about 12 to 15.

So if you like to hire the 15-year-old next door neighbor to watch your children while you go out for a movie it doesn’t seem this legislation would impact you.

Reading the bill you see it aims to expand current labor laws to domestic workers (nannies and housekeepers) who it says typically work to support their own children and often earn wages that keep them living below the poverty line.

That said, the bill is a long one and at the very least needs tightening up, lots of it. I can also understand why people who hire domestic help might oppose it. They stand to get sued if they don’t abide and they could even find themselves in court facing baseless accusations.

But I just don’t see this legislation ending teenagers’ ability to earn a few bucks for watching your children.