Overtime and Wage Victory for Home Care Aide Workers

In 2010, there were over a million and a half home care workers, some not receiving the deserved compensation for their services. This group of workers, along with other low-wage workers, has pushed for a change in the law. They sought to have those who provide in-home services to the disabled and elderly removed from the “companionship services” category where babysitters reside. Their companionship categorization meant that they were exempt from being covered by minimum wage regulations, as well as overtime coverage.

Recently, the Obama administration made the announcement that minimum wage and overtime coverage protection had been extended to all of America’s home care workers. Under this new regulation, the home care aides will be covered with the Fair Labor Standards Act, which is the main wage and hour law in the nation. Specifics about how the regulations affect workers, families and agencies can be found on the US DOL’s web siteThese new regulations will not be in effect until January 1, 2015. According to officials, this delay has been established to offer the families of the attendants, and the Medicaid program, to fully adjust to the new requirements. It is stated that most workers in this position currently receive minimum wage, but no overtime premium.

In 2010, the average hourly wage for home care workers was $9.58, which equates to just over $20,000 annually. The minimum wage rate is currently $7.25 per hour. Additionally, the Obama agency stated that almost 40 percent of these home care aides receive benefits from the government such as Medicaid and food stamps. Up to 92 percent of the workers in this position are women, with 30 percent being African-American and 12 percent Hispanic.

While there is a general consensus that this is a step in the right direction for these workers, there are still some concerns. One such concern is that the standard and amount of care that disabled and elderly people receive will be reduced due to the higher cost of these workers.

No matter how you look at it, this is a win for those home care workers that have not made fair wages. They will now be compensated for their services, which many believe will lead to better care for those in their homes.

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