minimum wage legislation

The U.S Department of Labor is debating whether home care workers should be exempted from minimum wage and overtime benefits. Until now, Congress has kept home care workers from receiving minimum wage and overtime pay. Home care workers log long hours as they care for the elderly or the disabled. Despite the important nature of their work  home care workers are being legally categorized as a type of babysitter.

Home care workers are beyond babysitters, they provide specialized support and medical care for people who are unable to care for themselves. Home care workers are also very dependable for people who may have busy family members who aren’t available at important times during the day. If the decision is made to rule out minimum wage and overtime pay for home care workers, home care will be a much less attractive field in an area that is already struggling to attract and retain workers, leaving the elderly or the disabled to be forced into institutions.

Just as the home care businesses thought that they were thriving, the federal court is attacking once again. Journalists Roginson and Sieve stated on that the court abandoned the DOL’s rule on overtime pay and minimum wage for home care employees “The court’s December 22, 2014 ruling in Home Care Association of America V. Weil (no. 14-cv- 967) vacates the new regulation and means that the Amendment will not take effect on January 1, 2015, unless it is stayed or otherwise reversed by an appellate court.” For the meantime, the court’s ruling is on hold.

Since then, The Department of Labor appealed the court’s ruling. The Department of Labor is working to secure both the employees and home care businesses. The Department of Labor is quoted saying that  it “…issued the Home Care Final Rule to extend minimum wage and overtime protections to almost 2 million home care workers.” Until now, home care workers have been excluded from overtime and minimum wage benefits because their work is not recognized as a significant industry. The ongoing debate that will determine the future of home care pay relies on where the their role and the nature of their work will ultimately be placed at the U.S labor level.

The elderly and the disabled truly rely on home care workers. They rely on home care workers to assist them with necessary activities of daily living (ADLs) including walking, feeding, medicating, toileting etc in addition to providing meaningful emotional support and other assistance. Home care workers are also key players in preventing accidents, as they maintain a clean and safe environment in living spaces. They play an important role keeping families updated of their love one’s health conditions. In addition to these duties, home care worker often schedule regular medical appointments and assist with other common day tasks around the house. In addition, there are moments when the elderly or the disabled simply need someone to talk to. It is common that the elderly and the disabled face burdens and suffer from depression or loneliness.

President Obama demands that home care workers earn a raise, however, the court ruling is hindering any changes. Visit Fortune.com’s home care wage coverage for more details. The home health aid industry is growing rapidly to respond to increasing health needs.  It would appear detrimental to the industry, the economy and care recipients should the legislation not be passed to increase their wage benefits.

Home health workers are critical players on the frontlines of caring for an aging population and for providing people with disabilities with a life of dignity and meaning. In order for these wage changes to take place, legislators and judges will need to continue to stand up and continue to protect the legislation they’ve endorsed.

Written by Brenda Marie
Hey there, I am a sociology student at City College. I also work as a Home Health Aide, which I love. On my spree time I enjoy reading, writing, and listening to music.

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9 Comments

  1. If you use your car for an agency be sure and check if your insurance cover s you using it for work! Most do not and you will need a commercial policy which costs more! You’re taking a big risk if you ignore it.

    Reply
  2. What this fails to address are the companies that are paid $22-$27 an hour to “manage” the caregivers by families. Then the caregivers are given a fraction of that. This infuriates me. Is there such a thing as a Caregiver Coop, Consortium, or some other form of organization for independent caregivers who can attest to their background experience, prove background checking, help find coverage when someone is ill or can’t come in? If not, there’s an opportunity out there.

    Reply
  3. While ‘minimum wage and overtime’ might be a great idea for those home health aides who work various hours for various recipients, it’s not at all a good thing for those of us who live with the fsmily member we care for. I’m caregiver for my adult son, who was very critically injured in a car crash 7 years ago when his friend fell asleep at the wheel. To say that ‘our lives were forever changed’ is a gross understatement. Numerous hospitals, a rehab facility, and 18 long months in a nursing home (until there was an abuse issue) – and then he came home to live with us. None of us feel comfortable entrusting his care to someone else – I will not have someone else in my home, caring for my son… So I do everything that needs to be done – 417 hrs a month’s worth (that’s what I am paid for… his actual care is 24/7. So a maximum 61 hr wee, is ridiculous, and would mean a drastic cut in my pay. My salary is used to buy equipment for my son, put gas in my car to get him to and from his many dr appts, oh, and the SUV I has to purchase TO be able to transport him… I earn $9 per hour – I don’t need or want a raise, or overtime. I just want to be able to afford to care for my son, and provide the things he needs… like mostly food on the table, and a roof over his head. Enforce ‘minimumxwage and overtime’ for those who are in the field as their career – and let family providers continue as they are.

    Reply
    • He is your son and if your able to take care of him you should. There are good people in the home health care and there are bad people . These people who own a Health Care and hire people to go out and take care of the elders or disabled are ranking in the money while they pay less then min. wages. They don’t do anything but sit in their office and wait for that person check to come in . The ones that go to the home and clean , cook, and what ever else they have to do for that person gets nothing . But yet we have people protesting fast food for 15.00 a hour to flip a burger or to drop some fries . Some are expected to use their car to take these people they care for shopping or to the doctor and they don’t even get paid back for the gas or the wear and tear on their car. My daughter is in health care and there are times she has to stay over night with the person she cares for . She a single mother so there for when she stays over night I take care of the children because she doesn’t make enough to pay for a baby sitter . They deserve way more then 7.25 a hour and when they work 80 hours a week the deserve the over time . Plus they need better health insurance then what the place they work for provides for them . Keep under paying them and there will be lots of people forced to put their loved ones in a nursing home with the shitty care .

      Reply
      • Well I know that my son will NEVER end up in a nursing home again!! He spent 18 months in one, and although I was there every single day, he still ended up being physically, emotionally, and verbally abused by the aides – over medicated/under medicated – it was terrible! My husband is retired, and I am nearing retirement age… but caring for my son will be our jobs until we take our last breath. I’m so tired of bureaucrats making random across the board decisions about people’s lives, when they have no clue. They would have no problem whatsoever paying the huge expense for nursing home ‘care’, but balk at those caring for the elderly and infirm in the comfort of their homes. And I agree, the health care coverage offered is ridiculous. Thankfully, I’ll be getting Medicare in a few months, so I will be able to afford going to a dr and getting treatments I need. My son’s care is through IHSS (In Home Support Services) – another government agency that plays games with people. They fudge the numbers, reduce hours for one service and raise slightly the hours for another. AND I’m forced to belong to a Union, which I completely am against. And please thank your daughter for being one of the ones who care about their clients as human beings, not just as ‘work’.

  4. Well they deserve a raise and the over time pay. Most of the home care workers do more then 40 hours a week and they have family at home that depend on them just as well. Some do more then just go in and sit and talk to the person they care for . They bath them , cook for them , attend to their wounds and change them if they are bed ridden. Nursing homes and the high price ones leave your love ones sitting in a messy diaper , don’t bother feeding them and often just leave them sitting in their room alone . Why should the ones in a nursing home make more money and get over time pay for doing the same job as a home health care worker who does much much more? I hope any of you feel along with the judges that these home health care workers don’t deserve a better pay never needs home health care and you end up one of the nursing homes that just leave you sitting in your room , or one that rolls you into the hall way and walks pass you all day without saying a kind word to you.

    Reply
  5. 128 hrs every 2 weeks and $6.25 an Hr is terrible! The agency’s can afford more I’m sure! No wonder they are leaving in droves!!!

    Reply
  6. Actually, this law to give caregiving staff overtime pay is a very disturbing fact for our society. The reality is, the government is not going to fund the overtime, therefore the workers will lose hours, and the turnover rate and amount of people in and out of someone’s home. The agency that I work for, for the past year, has been meeting with legislature and government officials of the horrible repercussions this law would have for workers and clients alike. Make sure to look at both sides of the issue…

    Reply
  7. Let’s be real no one really cares about the aide. And they certainly don’t care about the elderly. This is about getting taxes. No agency or private person (middle class) can afford over $310.00 a day for a 14 hour home health aide. The reality is the aides only work 40 hours if they are doing a type of live in caregiver and rotate out after 3 days. So the poor elderly person has a myriad of caregivers in a week,and the aides live like traveling sales men because the agencies cannot afford to pay the vast overtime and private people cannot afford to pay over $6000.00 a month . Sooooo nursing homes will be the winners. Poor facility care will stay the norm and more people will end their days with poor care. I have been a home care R.N for over 30 years this is by far the worst yet. They aides are leaving the profession in droves because it is horrible and pay still stinks. A true mess again

    Reply

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