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Home Care Workers Catch a Break

August 24, 2015
Plain English Version

home care

The job can be easy or hard. It can involve long or short hours. It does not matter. The U.S. says the workers should earn at least the minimum wage. The workers should be paid overtime when they work overtime.

These are home care workers. They care for the disabled and elderly, usually in the home of the client. Most of the time immigrants fill the jobs.

It has been a long struggle. Until recently, employers did not have to pay the minimum wage or overtime. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) said they must. A lower federal court said they did not have to. A higher federal court just said they do have to.

The Obama administration said the home care job has changed. Forty years ago most of the care was given in institutional settings. Home care workers were mainly “companions.” Today the home care worker is a professional.

A 1974 law exempted home care workers from wage and hour rules. It also gave the NLRB the power to issue new regulations. The Board said home care work went from being a kind of casual work to a full-time trade or job.

The home care industry opposes the ruling. They believe higher costs will hurt their profits. They say they will have less to invest.  It has not said what it will do about it.

There are about 2 million home care workers in the United States. About 90 percent of them are women.

Source: The New York Times August 21, 2015


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