On September 17, President Obama announced that the 2 million home care providers across the United States will finally be extended federal overtime and minimum wage protections. Home care is now the second-fastest growing job in America, and these long overdue changes will bring caregivers in line with the vast majority of the American workforce. The home care industry is one made up of primarily minority females who have struggled for decades to rise out of the shadows and have their work regarded as professional and vital to the consumers they serve. The majority of home care providers currently bring home poverty wages, rarely have access to quality, affordable healthcare, and are not afforded benefits like sick days or retirement security options.
“For almost 40 years, direct care workers have been denied basic employment rights,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez. “A fair wage will further stabilize and professionalize this critical line of work, which of course will lead to better quality care.”
“This rule will present a win-win solution for both home care workers and the people for whom they are caring,” Perez said.
Disability rights advocates like the American Association of People With Disabilities applauded extension of minimum wage and overtime protections to home care providers, with AAPD’s Executive Vice President saying, “It’s really just a simple matter of fairness.”
These changes mark a major step forward towards recognizing home care providers for the important roles they play in the healthcare and independence of seniors and people with disabilities. They will help stabilize and strengthen the home care workforce, making it easier for people who use home care to find skilled and reliable providers.