Home care workers visited Capitol Hill in droves this week, rallying for minimum wage and overtime rights with leadership from the National Domestic Workers Alliance.
Speaking for pending regulation under the Obama Administration that would guarantee those benefits, those advocating for the labor rights told The Hill they are hopeful the rules will be finalized soon.
“We’re just hoping they’re going to do what they promised two years ago,” Lisa Thomas, an in-home aide from Chicago’s West Side, told The Hill, citing wages of as little as $4.44 per hour during her two-decade long career as a home care aid.
Advocates urged a timely resolution of the situation, an ongoing battle that has been waged both on the state and federal levels.
“Every day we don’t have these rules finalized, workers are suffering,” said Ai-Jen Poo, executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, which led the rally. “It’s outrageous that you can work so hard – full time – and still be living in poverty.”
What an actual rule, announced by President Obama in 2011, would look like remains unclear, but hourly wages are tied to Medicaid reimbursements, indicating a shift could lead to further unrest in the industry, the Hill reports.
“[NAHC Vice President of Law William] Dombi noted that no one with direct knowledge of the process has said exactly when the rule would be issued. While he acknowledged that it was likely to come soon, he said it was unclear how closely the final regulation would hew to the draft proposal,” the Hill reports. “…Dombi said the draft language would likely force employers to limit worker hours, since they wouldn’t be able to afford to pay overtime. The result could thrust the entire industry into upheaval as aides would to take on multiple jobs for fewer hours.”
Written by Elizabeth Ecker