So Long, Date Night! Angry Parents Criticize “Babysitter’s Bill”

babysitterHiring a babysitter or nanny could get a lot more complicated for California parents.

A bill now in California’s State Senate, nicknamed “The Babysitter’s Bill,” would require people who employ domestic workers to pay them minimum wage and overtime, and provide workers’ comp, MSNBC.com reports.

Parents would also be required to give sitters mandatory breaks: a 10-minute break every four hours, and a 30-minute meal break after five hours. “Failure to abide with the provisions of the measure could land the employer in court since [the bill] provides for legal action to be taken against employers by domestic workers,” MSNBC explains.

The law would apply only to caregivers older than 18 who are not family members. It’s designed to protect domestic workers, who are currently ineligible for worker’s comp if they work less than full-time.

The bill has ignited fury on the Internet. Bloggers have pointed out that parents would have to hire two sitters to cover breaks. On The Stir, Julie Ryan Evans wrote:

So pretty much forget ever going on a date night again, and as for us working moms — we’re totally screwed. Minimum wage, I get, and most people I know pay much more than $7.25 an hour for a sitter. But the rest of it is asinine and just another burden on women who work outside the home to support their families.

Evans continued:

I’ve been a babysitter and hired babysitters, and I know a lot about the job. It’s difficult no doubt, and I cherish my good sitters. But babysitting isn’t like an office job. The kids nap, they sleep at night, you can sit down and watch a movie with them from time to time, and even eat when they eat.

Readers, what’s your take on “The Babysitter’s Bill?”

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  1. by YK

    On September 9, 2011 at 4:51 am

    Just one more example of the fundamental presumption of the modern state–that it is for politicians to decide what business arrangements private citizens may or may not enter into with each other. Arrogant and ridiculous? Certainly. But if you accept the presumption in every other case, what principled reason do you have to reject it in this one?

  2. by Katie B

    On September 9, 2011 at 9:06 am

    Ridiculous ~ so leave the children unattended while you stand outside and smoke a ciggy… or run to McDonalds on your “lunch break”? This is absurd! It is in the job description, to care for the children when the parents are not home. I am a full time mother of 3… WHERE THE EFF is my lunch break??? Just another door to a host of lawsuits waiting to be opened!! If you dont like the arrangement, dont take the job, work in a day care center or a food store.

  3. by Patrick

    On September 10, 2011 at 8:28 am

    I smell Democrats and union thugs at work on this bill. Period.

  4. by Michele

    On September 10, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Are you kidding me??? Thank GOD I don’t live in California! I am a single mom to twins. I pay my babysitters VERY well – up to 15.00 per hour to watch my children. There is PLENTY of time for my sitters to rest, eat, etc when they care for my children. I do not expect them to play with or entertain my children for the entire time they are with them. I don’t play with or entertain my children 24/7 when I am home, either! If this bill is passed, I sure hope it never makes its way to the east coast! Working parents have it hard enough… not to mention SINGLE working parents like myself. I’m lucky I can even afford a sitter, so I can work to provide for my family and still have some take homne pay after all the taxes taken out of my paycheck. Seriously… lawmakers need to think long and hard about this one!

  5. by Roger

    On September 12, 2011 at 8:41 am

    Puts the term “Nanny State” in a whole new light.

  6. by Chris

    On September 12, 2011 at 9:09 am

    Next, you’ll have to pay union wages and benefits to the 14 year old who cuts your lawn.

  7. by sheera

    On September 12, 2011 at 9:22 am

    Why do the most ASININE ideas always seem to come from California?

    Clearly this is an attempt to force everyone to send their kids to daycare.

    THis needs to be protested by all domestic daycare workers or they will find themselves without a job because there are not enough jobs at daycare centers for all of these in-home nannies.

  8. by angel

    On September 13, 2011 at 6:56 am

    this is totally ridiculous! alot of teens make extra money babysitting-and parents do need a break-its true that sitters have a good balance while babysitting-play, read, watch movies, i myself have alot of fun with the girls i sit for!if i need a break, i sit down and rest and they play for a little while–this idea must have come from a man!!!-yeeesh come on now!!!

  9. by Lilith

    On September 13, 2011 at 8:55 am

    Welcome to California – the DUMBEST state in the union. It’s why I left and now live in Texas.

  10. by Nana

    On September 13, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Well, I guess some people won’t be able get away with hiring cheap labor. I’m a single parent and I understand the economy is hard and life is tuff and yet I’ve been on the other side. I’ve been the babysitter (and a damn good one) I’ve been the one that parents wanted to pay on the sly (cheaply,$7.00hr)and go over the time frame, ect. I wasn’t being appreciated for watching their child. Although I know not all parents behave that way, we have to at least acknowledge that there are some really bad ones out there. I’m not sure if passing a bill solves will solve any problems but parents have to reconnize you are paying for a person’s time and energy and if that babysitter is worth it you and me have gotta pay.

  11. by Janice

    On September 13, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Absolutely Ridiculous! Glad I don’t live in CA. I get the wage thing but breaks? How the heck could anyone make that work? If you are a babysitter or nanny and you don’t like the arrangement then quit! Even in daycare centers you don’t usually get 10 minute breaks just one 1/2-1 hour break somewhere in your shift if its 6 hours or longer.

  12. by S

    On September 15, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    A 10 min break every 4 hours and 30 min lunch after 5 hours? Can I get in on that deal?? I stay home with 2 under-4 year olds. Would be nice to have that time to pee/eat/breathe. Hell, DH doesn’t get that kind of break at his job either!!

    So if you work and depend on care for your kids, or even just need an evening out, who is supposed to watch those kids while they take a break? Do the politicians in CA EVER think? It’s always the most ridiculous things they want to regulate.

  13. by Xalleah

    On September 15, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    I’l;l be surprised if this passes. You can eat while you are babysitting stay at home moms do it all the time, it’s not hard. So now single parents who work have to have a second sitter cover the first while she is on her break? There is no way this is getting passed, because I am sure there are moms on the senate that have sitters that know this is bogus. It’s not like you can drive home from work and say “okay take time for lunch now!” and then later drive home again just to give them a 10 minute break. Do they want moms to stop working or going out without their kids to have time to be adults? Because everyone needs “me time” and most grown ups need time with their spouses without the kids. Some single moms only get a “break” once or twice a week or even less.

  14. by Heather

    On September 16, 2011 at 10:43 am

    I think it is absolutely ridiculous!! I am a sitter and i would from 8am-5pm and there is no way that I would expect these breaks. What are the kids suppose to do during the sitters break?!? Choke on something? Fall down the stairs? If you ask me this is going to be nothing but trouble!
    -Heather-

  15. by Jim

    On September 18, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    I’d like to hear from someone, who isn’t a lawyer or runs a daycare, who actually supports this bill.

  16. by Anon

    On September 20, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    And most of the people complaining fail thier basic reading test.

    The law applies to 18 and over nonrelatives.
    How many people here actually hire someone who is over 18 and not a relative?

  17. by Stephanie

    On September 20, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    I hire sitters that are over 18. I am a teacher and usually get a college student to watch my kids when we have inservice days. I am not against paying them fairly, but the breaks would be impossible to manage.

  18. by The Only Moderate

    On September 21, 2011 at 7:29 am

    Obviously, this is being pushed by owners of daycare centers who take drop-ins for date nights and Saturday and Sunday afternoon football games. If you can’t get business any other way, hire a lobbyist, and get a law passed to FORCE people to do business with you.

  19. by Le

    On September 23, 2011 at 2:10 am

    This is ridiculous. How are parents meant to actually implement a 10 minute break? Hire another babysitter to babysit for 10 mins then go home?

  20. by Le

    On September 23, 2011 at 2:14 am

    Let’s not get so PC here. Babysitting is not a difficult job that warrants even the minimum wage. For most babysitting jobs, you’re looking after a couple of kids, watch TV with them, play with them, make sure they don’t stab themselves with a fork, tell them to brush their teeth and go to bed. And until the parents come home, you’re lounging around watching more TV.

  21. by Heidi

    On September 23, 2011 at 10:24 am

    While this bill may be flawed, it is not aimed at parents who hire a sitter to watch their children for a few hours on a Friday night, it is aimed at helping nannies who often work 7 days a week and are ALWAYS “on call” who spend more time with their charges than the parents ever do, who are also expected to cook and clean, and who are often underpaid and treated like they are not real human beings. I was a nanny, for good families who treated me very well, but I met others who were not so lucky. Many of these women are immigrants who have few other options for work. They NEED someone to pay attention to them and their needs. This law is a good thing. If you’re jsut going to hire a babysitter to watch your kids for a coule of hours, get a 15-17 year old and the law won’t even apply to you. Or trade babysitting with another mom, then you can call it a “playdate” and the law still won’t apply.

  22. by Rachel

    On September 23, 2011 at 10:31 am

    I sincerely hope that people expecting minimum wage for non-facility-based childcare positions are also expecting to pay taxes for all that income.

    And, about me – I have never had the occasion to hire a sitter yet because we are expecting our first child. However, four years ago at age 19 I babysat a six-year-old and his 4-month-old sister for $5 an hour. That certainly wasn’t minimum wage. Caring for children IS work, but it certainly isn’t as grueling as jobs that demand minimum wage everywhere… i.e., most jobs don’t revolve around interacting with and playing with 1-3 kids.

  23. by TJ

    On September 27, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    One word: Ridiculous.

  24. by Dew

    On September 27, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    For anyone worried about nannies’ pay, let me assure you that (in San Francisco, at least) the starting hourly rate is about $15 for one child (WELL above minimum wage) and about $20 for two children, and that even nannies who are paid under the table (at their insistence) are given a week’s sick days, two weeks of vacation, and are paid when one or both families take their children on vacation, if it’s not during a nanny’s paid time off. I can’t imagine where this bill came from, but when I get the chance to vote against it, and to support any lobbying against it, as a full-time working mom, you can bet I will be.

  25. by Chris

    On October 2, 2011 at 11:25 am

    I’m confused by the anti-daycare sentiment on this page. Why does everyone assume that daycares are a bad place to send your kids? I have worked at one for six years, I have a bachelor’s degree, and work at a daycare center that is nationally accredited (and no I don’t support this bill) and each of the children that attend the daycare that I go to are as close to me as if they were my own children. I also spend more waking hours with several of our children than their parents do.

  26. by Heather

    On October 7, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    Seriously? wtf. .. now I can understand the paying them at least min wage, I pay my nanny 15 dollars an hour but guess what, their breaks are when the kids are sleeping and their meal breaks are when the kids are eating. . . This is just so ridiculous, I can’t even form words to express my disgust.

  27. by DragonMommy

    On October 7, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    Just “get a 15-17 year old and the law won’t even apply to you” Do you know how difficult it is to find someone that you trust with your kids? Where do you think a single woman gets her sitters? Who do we trust? Should we just stand on a street corner asking random teens if they babysit? What about having friends without kids of their own watch them, now I’d have to pay someone who just wants to help out?

    Are we supposed to schedule returns home for these breaks? As a Mommy, I don’t get a break. Do you have any idea how often I get an uninterrupted SHOWER let alone a lunch? The lawmakers supporting this probably HAVE professional child care and no idea what it’s like broke and on your own so making the adjustments this would require would only be a minor inconvience. PARENTS HAVE IT HARD ENOUGH!!

  28. by Maddy

    On October 9, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    These people are NUTS!

    Zero common sense!

  29. by Vanessa

    On October 15, 2011 at 5:30 am

    So if you hire one babysitter you are going to be required to hire a second one to cover breaks immediately doubling the cost of childcare. Does the person who thought of this think parents shouldn’t work or even have a break from their kids? You’d have to earn double the present minimum needed to cover the cost of childcare to be able to afford to work and those who already can’t afford to work may not be able to afford an evening out. What happens to the single parent and her kids if she is forced out of work and on to benefits by this bill and will they try to force her into another job that would mean she’d bankrupt by the childcare costs if she took the job?

  30. by scott

    On October 18, 2011 at 8:48 am

    The bill is well-meaning to sure. But the devil’s in the details. What this bill needs is some more concrete distinctions between a casual sitter,impossible to hire via this bill, and indentured, overworked nannies, who undoubtably need further help.

  31. by Mark

    On November 3, 2011 at 7:34 am

    I think people are way missing the point here. If you have a baby sitter you trust and you are paying under the table… this law won’t mean anything to you. Is your babysitter going to report you and lose the income? This law has little is anything to do with babysitting. It has everything to do with being a domestic worker, AKA nanny. I understand it is convenient as parents to complain that you have it just as bad as the nanny, but you are parents, she is an employee. In this country there are rules that protect employees, mainly, the ones this law is extending to domestic workers. Basically all it is doing is saying domestic worker is a legitimate job and deserves the same protections as a bank teller or walmart cashier.

    Again, babysitting is still under the table, it’s sporadic and not much of a business arrangement while domestic workers often earn their entire yearly income from near full time positions in homes. Settle down and think for 2 seconds before blasting this bill.

  32. by h

    On November 10, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    I am a nanny and I get paid very well. I get the same amount every week for 30 hrs or less, get paid when they are on vacation, 1 week paid sick leave (a year), and 1 week paid vacation (a year). Also when my son was born they transferred my 2 weeks of paid leave into paid maternity leave and made provisions for me to pump milk/feed him while at work. The child I watch was 6 at the time, so she would watch a show while my son ate or I pumped (if he was at home with my husband). The child I watch is very attached to me-has a fit if it is even suggested anyone else watch her (on weekends or during the summer when there is no school bc mom works 14 hrs a day and dad travels a lot during the week. ). This law is a joke! Being a nanny you don’t have to stand up all day, most of the time you should be sitting on the floor playing!

  33. by Dad

    On November 14, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    I think some people are taking this bill a little too seriously.

    1. If you hire a babysitter, regardless of age, for less than 4 hours (who has time for a “Date Night” longer than 4 hours?), you have to pay them minimum wage. Not that bad, I already pay mine more than that.

    2. If you need to have a friend watch your kids now and then (who you normally don’t pay anyway), this law doesn’t affect you in anyway. Is your “friend” going to take you to court?

    3. This bill is really more about giving stronger bargaining rights to full-time nannies.

    That being said, I can sympathize with those who don’t understand how 10 minute breaks or 30 minute lunches would work. Having not read the bill (only this article), I’m not sure what constitutes a 10 minute break. Does taking a break during a kid’s nap count? I would also expect nannies to eat lunch during down time with the kids. The whole purpose of a nanny is to have someone there to watch the kids all day, so I don’t understand how “breaks” can work, unless they are the same “breaks” parents get, when the kids fall asleep.

  34. by Checkman69

    On December 2, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    I am sorry but this is the most intelligent law I have heard of coming from California.
    I can’t believe the negative views from some of the people here.
    They show make the minimum wage for this at least 3X the minimum wage to cover for the lack of benefits babysitters suffer with and there should be mandatory sound proofing installed for their break periods and while we’re at it how about adding an administrative assistant or child care aide and making the parents pay for Emergency Medical Training courses and tuition reimbursement and how about vacation days and an allowance for travel and…how about everyone hire kids under 14 not related to them and pay them $5 hour since they are the only ones that will be left to work…or maybe you could drop the kids off at the Capitol to left the morons in office take care of them.

  35. by Eric P

    On December 2, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    Is it any wonder that California is so in debt and messed up? Michael Jackson’s doctor, Conrad what’s his name and everyone’s favorite screwup, Lindsay Lohan have been sentenced to prison sentences they will never serve or serve a fraction of. Why? Because of prison overcrowding. Why are the prisons so crowded? Because there is no money to build anymore and the government keeps criminalizing more behavior. It sounds like a backdoor to unionize babysitters (since the work rules sound exactly like union rules) like they unionized the day-care providers. The Dems are desperate to get more people in unions so they can continue to get union dues as campaign contributions. Leave the babysitters alone.

    The unintended consequences will mean that fewer over 18, non-family members will be babysitting so college kids can kiss that money good-bye. Same for the kids who turn 18 their senior year. Only 14-17 yrs will get the bulk of the babysitting gigs and most parents with newborns and toddlers do not want to trust such young minors with the responsibility of caring for such young children. It squeezes the options for many parents who have trouble finding a sitter in the first place.

    Is it any wonder that California is so screwed up with legislators like this?

  36. by Sarah

    On December 3, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    You know, I am all for making sure that babysitters are paid a reasonable wage, but how on earth are people supposed to give these people 10 minute breaks and lunch breaks? It’s not like working retail where you can just tap another person and say, “Hey, I’m going on my lunch, cover for me.” The whole thing is incredibly ridiculous. As another person pointed out, children often take naps and also sleep at night, there’s your breaks. How are they going to monitor that anyway? I babysat for people all the time while I was in my teens. It’s how I made most of my spending money. I had a regular once a week job for the neighbor across the street. I fed her daughter dinner, played with her for a little bit, put her to bed, and I watched tv, movies, read or did my homework until her mom got home. I actually found that part pretty boring, and it was most of my night there.

  37. by ostolowago

    On December 4, 2011 at 2:26 am

    keep electing maroons and the acts speak for themswelves

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  41. by i want my ex boyfriend back

    On January 14, 2012 at 1:46 am

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  42. by anita

    On January 28, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Can I sue these people for back pay?

  43. by Pat Crawford

    On February 1, 2012 at 4:33 am

    Checkman…You can’t be serious…Can you? I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic here, but I pray you are. The utter stupidity you post in that comment is near the lever of the stupidity in this bill. Soundproofing? Where? In a break room? Ok. I guess I’ll just go pick money off my money tree. How can you expect parents to PAY for that stuff? If you’re being serious, you’re as stupid as Pelosi. And that’s saying something.
    The breaks? You take breaks as a baby sitter. When I was younger, my babysitter would sit down and watch TVfor me. That was her “break”. When my parents had left foor for me, she ate dinner with me. That was her lunch. And…a ten minute brak every 4 hours? That’s ABSURD! I’ve never had thatmuch break time at any of my jobs. When I worked at grocery stores, I got 1 15 minute break and a 30 minute break for my 8 hour shifts. But I RARELY had time to take the 15 minnute breaks. Minimum wage I get, but these breaks? ANd benefits? No.
    Unacceptable. You get more than enough breaks babysitting. It’s not brain surgery, it’s watching kids. Don’t kid yourselves.
    California, you continue to imrpress me with your stupidity.

  44. by gjawua

    On June 11, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    So Long, Date Night! Angry Parents Criticize “Babysitter’s Bill” | Parents News Now, by Holly Lebowitz Rossi I was recommended this website by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my trouble. You’re wonderful! Thanks! your article about So Long, Date Night! Angry Parents Criticize “Babysitter’s Bill” | Parents News Now, by Holly Lebowitz RossiBest Regards SchaadAndy

  45. by Babysitters

    On August 4, 2012 at 1:31 am

    This is so informative post i really get a lot of knowledge from it. I am very inspired from this Thanks for sharing such a good thing to discuss.

  46. by Austin-Gary: Cooper

    On August 23, 2012 at 4:14 am

    Constitution for the United States of America, Article I, Section. 10. “No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.” This means that if you have a contract with the sitter, the terms and conditions of the contract cannot be impaired regardless of what the corporate State or corporate United States declares unless they can prove that your intent was to make them a party to the contract.
    If they attempt to violate this constitutional mandate they are attempting to commit treason by conspiring and engaging in an overthrow of the Constitution, ibid. However, you do not go to ‘court’ asking for permission, you file a ‘Conditional Acceptance’ with the alleged authority and require them to declare their authority to circumvent or overthrow this mandate before you submit to its authority, with the condition that if they cannot they admit treason, conspiracy to commit treason, fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud and the parties grant you their power of attorney/authority to proceed against them for a punitive damage of an amount you choose, e.g. $100,000 per count.

  47. by Rob

    On August 29, 2012 at 1:54 am

    Stop voting for Democrats and this will end. They are the ones that can’t go 5 minutes without creating new laws that intrude into your freedom, so wake up and get rid of them before they shut down more kid’s lemonade stands.

  48. by nomo

    On September 1, 2012 at 7:58 am

    Tired of stupid laws and over regulation? Vote Republican.