Though various home care agencies and associations loudly disagree, the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision not to consider Home Care Association of America v. Weil is cause for celebration, according to The New York Times’ editorial board.
In fact, exempting home care workers from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s so-called “companionship” clause is actually “a vital first step in ensuring quality [home] care,” the newspaper’s editorial board wrote in a July 2 Op-Ed piece titled “Home Care Workers Can Finally Claim Victory.”
Home Care Association of America v. Weil was “the last attempt by home care employers… to avoid paying home care workers… the minimum wage and overtime pay,” the board wrote. Moreover, the board said, the actions of the Supreme Court mark the end of a “long and shameful era in labor law.”
The companionship label has always been out of place when applied to home care workers—and the label became more and more so as demand for home care escalated and a huge for-profit industry was created to meet that demand, the board argued.
Any home care agencies that sued to block the changes, arguing that the Department of Labor (DOL) did not have the authority to make new rules, were being “absurd,” the board wrote. For one, the Supreme Court had previously unanimously stated that the DOL had the power to revoke the companionship label.
Additionally, the new federal minimum wage and overtime rules are “desperately needed,” the board wrote.
“The elderly and disabled clientele of the home care industry is a large, growing and vulnerable group,” the board wrote. “The home care industry, while vast, is not growing fast enough to meet the demand of an aging population. Granting home care workers basic labor protections is a vital first step in ensuring quality care.”
Written by Mary Kate Nelson