Minimum Wage and Overtime Pay for Home Care Aides
Minimum wage and overtime protection will extend to home care workers, the Labor Department announced Tuesday 17 September, 2013. The change will affect nearly 2 million people who work as home health aides, personal care aides and certified nursing assistants. The protection will extend to all direct care workers employed by home care agencies and other third parties starting January 1st. 2015.
President Obama came out in support Thursday, 15 December 2011 of the long awaited labor law change, that would entitle nearly 2 million home care aides to overtime pay and a guaranteed minimum wage. The approved rule will remove an almost 40-year-old exemption for home care aides from the Fair Labor Standards Act, the law that provides basic wage protections for most American workers.
Most home health aides are already being paid above the minimum wage, but many of them do not receive overtime - a time-and-a-half premium when they work more than 40 hours a week - thanks to the so-called companionship exemption - see below at federal overtime pay provisions.
In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled against a home care aide named Evelyn Coke, who argued that her long hours entitled her to overtime pay. The court upheld the companionship rule, leaving it to either Congress or the Labor Department to update it. Congress did little on the issue, but the Labor Department has moved the rule change forward with the backing of Sec. Hilda Solis.
According to the federal government there are 6 million seniors who need daily assistance to live outside of nursing homes. That number is expected to double by 2030.