Yesterday, the Department of Labor announced that it will extend minimum wage and overtime protections to home care workers, the majority of whom are women and people of color. Almost two million home care workers - such as home health aides, personal care aides, and certified nursing assistants - will now be covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act when the regulations go into effect on January 1, 2015.
According to the Department of Labor, "the home care industry has grown dramatically over the last several decades as more Americans choose to receive long-term care at home instead of in nursing homes or other facilities." Despite this growth, home care workers are still the lowest paid in the service industry. Only 15 states provide both minimum wage and overtime protections.
"Today, the Department of Labor took an important step towards stabilizing one of America's fastest-growing workforces, and one made up predominantly of women, women of colors, and immigrants," said Ai-jen Poo, Executive Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and Co-Director of the Caring Across Generations campaign. "This change is a long overdue show of respect for women in the workplace and for the important work of supporting seniors and people with disabilities." About 90 percent of home care workers are women, and half are minorities.
These jobs were previously considered "companionship services," which are exempt from minimum wage and overtime protections. Under the new rule, the companionship exemption will no longer apply to workers who receive training to perform medically-related services while caring for the elderly and people with illness, injuries, and disabilities. However, not all workers will be protected - only those employed by home care agencies and other third parties. Workers who are employed directly by the person receiving services, or by that person's family, will still be exempt from protections.
Media Resources: Los Angeles Times 9/17/2013; US Department of Labor; National Domestic Workers Alliance 9/17/2013
11/25/2014 Marissa Alexander Has Accepted a Plea Deal - Marissa Alexander, the woman imprisoned for firing a warning shot in the presence of her abusive husband, chose to accept a plea deal Monday with the state of Florida, pleading guilty to three felony counts of aggravated assault.
As part of the plea deal, Alexander received three years imprisonment, but she will be credited for the time she's spent behind bars. . . .
11/24/2014 The City of Louisville Has Overwhelmingly Approved a CEDAW Resolution - The city of Louisville, Kentucky approved a resolution that will use the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) as a framework for all future policy aimed at ending gender-based discrimination.
Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh introduced the resolution, which passed overwhelmingly on November 6. . . .