October 14, 2016
The home care industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors of New York’s economy, but workers have long been poorly paid. A recent series of legislative victories have raised the floor, improving compensation and support for home care workers.
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Included the expansion of Medicaid coverage, insurance subsidies, and funding for training pilots in six states.
NYS Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights
Guaranteed home care workers an 8-hour workday, overtime pay at time-and-a-half, and protection against harassment and discrimination.
NYS Wage Parity Law
Equalized pay and employer-based benefit levels for the Medicaid-funded, agency-employed home care workers in NYC, Westchester, and Long Island. As a result, the base wage has risen to $10/hour, plus additional benefits.
NYC Earned Sick Time Act
Entitled employees working in NYC to 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours (5 days)/yr.
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
Amended “companionship exemption” rule to include home care workers in federal minimum wage, overtime, and travel protections.
NYC Office of Labor Standards
Established to take on tasks such as public education, research and analysis, and facilitating complaints relating to labor rules and regulations.
Included a $15 minimum wage (amount to rise, depending on region, reaching $15 in 2018 in NYC) and paid family medical leave (workers eligible for 12 weeks of paid family leave beginning in 2018).
NYS Advanced Home Health Aide
Allows home health aides trained as AHHAs to be assigned certain advanced tasks, including the administration of pre-packaged, routine mediciations.
NYC Division of Paid Care
Assists with information on benefits, financial and tax literacy, health and safety in the home, and low-cost or free training. It will also conduct research, provide workforce data, and report on complaints filed against employers.
--by Allison Cook and Lenn Uchima