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Can Domestic Workers Receive Compensation?

If you want results, call us. If you want peace of mind, call us. If you want representation who understands the hardship that has been thrust upon you, call us.

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There are over two million domestic workers in California alone. This network of nannies, caregivers, childcare providers, and personal assistants provide valuable services to families throughout the state, but few understand their rights in the workplace. This is partially because the laws themselves are so patchwork – what applies to one domestic worker might not apply to the other. In fact, it was only in 2016 that California passed the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights – but even this only covers a specific class of domestic workers (called “personal attendants.”)

Under California law SB-1015, personal attendants have access to a minimum wage, paid sick leave, and three-year grace period to file complaints against their employers. They can also file complaints regardless of their immigration status. However, the laws surrounding workers’ compensation in California can be even more confusing if you’re a domestic worker. Here’s what you need to know about your rights and responsibilities under California law.

Who Can File a Claim in California?

Under California law, you may file a workers’ compensation claim if the following rules apply:

  • You provide any domestic service, including childcare, and worked for more than 52 hours and earned $100 or more within 90 calendar days preceding your accident causing injury or occupational disease.
  • Your employer must offer workers’ compensation, which may come from their homeowners insurance, if the preceding rules apply.
  • Workers employed by a parent, spouse, or child are not eligible to collect workers’ compensation benefits.

What to Do After an Accident

If you sustained a work-related injury and believe you may be eligible for benefits based on the criteria above, take the following steps to protect your right to compensation.

  • Report the injury to your employer as soon as possible. The law sets certain time limits for reporting injuries, and reporting too late could cause you to lose your right to compensation.
  • Seek medical treatment. Ask your employer if you can see your own healthcare provider or if they have an occupational doctor they would like you to see. Since workers’ compensation benefits will pay for the cost of your medical care, don’t worry about medical bills right now – just seek the care you need to get better.
  • Follow your doctor’s orders. Keep all your follow-up appointments and follow your provider’s instructions. Medical noncompliance has affected workers’ compensation claims, so do everything your doctor tells you to do to get better.
  • Ask what information you need to provide to file a claim. Employers have different methods for providing workers’ compensation claims. Sometimes it comes out of their homeowners insurance, and other times it comes from a CA state fund. Therefore, their requirements might vary. Be as cooperative as possible.
  • Hire a workers’ compensation attorney. Domestic worker claims can be difficult to navigate. Having an attorney as your legal advocate can help assure that you understand your rights under California law.

Domestic worker rights are an evolving area of law. Employment advocates are working hard to ensure that this vulnerable branch of workers – who provide invaluable services to our state’s families – enjoy the same protections under the law as traditional employees.