Home Care Workers Win Minimum Wage and Overtime Protections

Sep 17, 2013, 16:16 ET from Direct Care Alliance, Inc.

WASHINGTON, Sept. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Home care workers gained a significant victory today when the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) extended minimum wage and overtime protections to them under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Today's 2.5 million home care workers constitute one of our nation's fastest-growing workforces. Most are women, and about half are members of a racial or ethnic minority. They average less than $10 an hour. Nearly half live in households that depend on some form of public benefits, such as food stamps.

This victory is an important step toward elevating a profession that has been underpaid and overlooked for far too long. The regulations guarantee nearly all home care workers time and a half for overtime, at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour and compensation for some travel time between visits. These guarantees will help strengthen and stabilize this crucial workforce, improving quality and continuity of care, services and supports. Direct Care Alliance (DCA) is one of the leaders of a coalition of labor, consumer, and other social justice organizations that has been advocating for the change.

DCA Board Chair Tracy Dudzinski and other home care workers stood with President Obama when he announced the proposed regulations in December 2011. "That was an amazing moment, but knowing the regulations have been finalized is even better," she says. "Our voices are being heard!"

"Winning these basic labor protections has been a top priority for DCA for years," says DCA Executive Director Carla D. Washington. "These regulations are an important step in the right direction, advancing our nation's goals of creating good jobs and meeting the skyrocketing demand for quality home care. DCA thanks President Obama, DOL, and all the home care workers, ally organizations and other advocates who worked so hard to overturn this longstanding injustice."

The regulations will take effect on January 1, 2015. DCA is disappointed by the unusually long delay, but is working with its allies to ensure that the regulations are implemented properly. Learn more at directcarealliance.org/flsafix.

Direct Care Alliance is the national advocacy voice of direct care workers in long-term care. We empower workers to speak out for better wages, benefits and training, so more people can commit to direct care as a career.

Contact: Jessica Brill Ortiz
(202) 236-4593 | jbrillortiz@directcarealliance.org

Video with caption: "DCA Executive Director Carla D. Washington on the significance of the regulations." Video available at: http://youtu.be/Rdxg6R_rxfk

SOURCE Direct Care Alliance, Inc.