Businessweek: For Home Care Wage Protections, Clock is Ticking

Despite President Barack Obama’s December announcement introducing the U.S. Department of Labor’s proposal aiming to extend minimum wage and overtime protections to home health aides, Congress has yet to take action in ensuring the protections, writes a Businessweek article published June 13.

Even though in-home care has been a high growth industry since 2008, home care providers have yet to receive legal minimum wage and overtime protections, Businessweek writes. Domestic employees have been included in these protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act since 1974, but a loophole created by Congress does not issue minimum wage or overtime protections to home care providers.

Businessweek reports:

Today, workers in the $84 billion home health-care industry, most of whom are women, represent the fastest-growing worker category in the U.S. Their median annual wage is $19,640.

Six months after the president’s announcement, they are still waiting for the administration to issue the promised rules before the November election.

Mitt Romney hasn’t taken a position on the rule, while 13 Republican senators have introduced a bill that would preserve the companionship exemption.

Since Obama’s announcement, Labor has twice extended the comment period for the rules, which means the issue could wind up being punted to next year—and perhaps to the next president.

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Written by Erin Hegarty

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