Home Care Workers Extra Compensation, But From Whose Pocket?

August 26
8:47 PM 2015

Many home health workers and other direct care workers will have the best day of their lives because they are going to have a raise.  What drives this wage increase include union assertive campaigns, bountiful state minimum wage laws, an authoritative court decision on Friday and most significant is demand growth for paid home care by consumers.

There is just one question:  How was this extra compensation be paid by older adults, younger people with disabilities, their families, and the government?

The DC Court Appeals upheld the right of the Labor Department on August 21, extending federal wage and overtime rules to direct care workers.  This case is just the latest step down the road of giving these hardworking and patient workers, who are the key to maintaining quality life for many weak seniors and young and adults with disabilities, a much-needed and deserving raise.

A typical home care aide is paid less than $10 per hour which is equal to $21,000 annually for a full-time worker.  She's not likely to receive health benefit insurance, sick or vacation days or even retirement benefits however, she is more likely to get injured while working with an average wage of only $3 per hour which is less than what a veterinary technician earns.

According to a ruling by a federal court appeals court on Friday in Washington D.C., almost 2 million health care workers across the country, including 55,000 in Massachusetts, are qualified for federal minimum wage and overtime protections.

This ruling brought back a Department of Labor regulation that was set to go into effect January 1 granting home workers the right to be paid minimum wage and earn time and a half for hours worked above a week.  The Labor Department rules earlier this year was rejected by a federal judge telling the agency had exceeded its authority, but that decision was overturned by this Friday's ruling.

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