“The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announcement today that basic wage protections will be extended to home care workers on schedule is a relief following recent indications that there could be a delay. Even though DOL will allow some states and employers to take additional time to implement the changes through a six-month period of non-enforcement, today’s decision still means that many home care workers will receive minimum wage and overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act beginning January 1. This is great news for these workers, their families and the people they care for, and it marks the beginning of long overdue changes for workers who have been grossly undervalued for decades.
It is imperative that all states and employers prioritize speedy implementation of and compliance with these provisions, which were finalized more than a year ago. With today’s announcement, DOL has acknowledged concerns expressed by some state administrations and employers and shown a commendable willingness to work with them. Now, states and employers that are struggling will have more than enough time to adapt to the new rules to ensure fair pay for home care workers while also preventing cuts in hours for both workers and consumers and protecting the continuity and quality of care for those in need.
We applaud the Obama administration’s decision to move forward with timely implementation of this important rule. Ninety percent of home care workers in this country are women, and many are paid low wages and offered few benefits. Ensuring these essential workers are guaranteed the minimum wage and overtime protections afforded to all other workers will go a long way toward giving them the financial security and equal treatment they have long deserved. January 1 will be a significant, long-awaited and much-needed step forward for the home care workforce in this country. The National Partnership will be joining our allies in working hard to ensure that, soon after, all home care workers have the fair pay they need and deserve.”