Direct Care Job Quality Improvement Act seeks to address looming crisis in America's long-term care system
WASHINGTON, June 24, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Direct Care Job Quality Improvement Act [S. 1273/H.R. 2341] – a bill that would help create a more stable, valued direct care workforce was introduced yesterday by Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) and Sen. Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA). Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) were also original co-sponsors of the Senate bill. The House bill had twenty-one original co-sponsors. This legislation takes major steps towards ensuring the health, autonomy and well-being of more than 13 million Americans with long-term care needs today and an estimated 27 million by 2050.
The Direct Care Job Quality Improvement Act would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to include basic labor protections for home care workers. Currently, FLSA covers domestic service workers and most direct care workers in institutional settings such as nursing homes; however, the law continues to exclude home care workers from basic minimum wage and overtime protections.
"Without basic protections for this workforce, the quality of care for the elderly and people living with disabilities is and will continue to be severely compromised," said Leonila Vega, Executive Director of the Direct Care Alliance.
In addition to extending wage and overtime protections for home care workers, The Direct Care Job Quality Improvement Act would:
- Establish data collection and reporting requirements to monitor important workforce indicators such as size, compensation levels, turnover rates and vacancies.
- Improve the recruitment and retention of direct care workers by providing grants to states to expand and support efforts aimed at recruiting, training and retaining an adequate supply of direct care workers.
The Direct Care Alliance is a nationwide and state-based alliance of direct care workers, employers and people of all ages and disabilities who use long-term services, care and supports. We are united to build an empowered and valued professional direct care workforce essential to ensuring high-quality services and a life of dignity, respect, autonomy and opportunity for all to participate in community life.
SOURCE Direct Care Alliance