Home Care Workers Deserve Minimum Wage Protection
On December 15, 2011, as part of his We Can't Wait program, President Obama pledged to end federal regulations excluding home care workers from minimum wage and overtime protections.
One year later, WE'RE STILL WAITING.
Home care workers assist older Americans and people with disabilities with activities critical to their safety and quality of life, yet 50% of these workers rely on public assistance in order to meet their own basic needs.
President Obama, STAND BY YOUR PROMISE to home care workers and carry these long-overdue minimum wage and overtime reforms across the finish line today.
We can't wait!: Americans Speak Out for Fair Pay for Home Care Workers -- Presents first-person stories from more than 40 home care workers, consumers, employers, and advocates explaining why home care workers deserve the same basic wage protections as most other American workers.
DATA BRIEF: Institutionalization Rates in States that Extend Minimum Wage and Overtime Protection to Home Care Workers -- This data brief disproves the myth that narrowing the companionship exemption will result in higher rates of institutionalization for consumers. It shows that institutionalization rates are NOT higher in the 15 states that extend minimum wage and overtime protections to home care workers.
Value the Care
- Value the Care, No.1 (pdf): Why home care workers should not be exempted from the FLSA
- Value the Care, No.2 (pdf): Fixing the “companionship exemption” will improve jobs
- Value the Care, No.3 (pdf): Fixing the exemption will NOT make care too expensive
- Value the Care, No.4 (pdf): Myths & Facts about fixing the companionship exemption
- Value the Care, No.5 (pdf): The $80 billion home care industry can afford basic labor protections
- Value the Care, No.6 (pdf): Home care jobs: the straight facts about hours worked
- Value the Care, No.7 (pdf): High-Hour Consumers in the California IHSS Program
Minimum Wage & Overtime Map
Home care workers are excluded from federal minimum wage and overtime protections. Find out which states have--and which states have not--chosen to extend these important labor protections to the home care workforce.
- Frequently Asked Questions (pdf). FAQ for the proposed reforms to the US DOL companionship regulations.
- Guide to US Home Care Workforce. Using the best data and research evidence available, this national report presents the most complete picture possible of America’s home care and personal assistance workforce.
- Private-Duty Industry Association Studies of DOL’s Proposal to Revise FLSA’s Companionship Exemption (pdf). Describes serious flaws in studies produced by private-duty associations.
- Can home care companies manage overtime hours? (pdf). Examines three successful models.
- Comparing Cost of Personal Care Services and Caregiver Pay (pdf). Providers take in about twice as much as workers.
- Statement from PHI President Steven Dawson. PHI commends DOL Secretary Hilda Solis for proposing revised regulations to the companionship exemption.
- PHI President Steven Dawson on the Concerns of Business Owners
Steve Edelstein, PHI national policy director, discusses efforts to extend minimum wage and overtime protections to home care workers and the expected benefits to continuity and quality of care.
|National Employment Law Project (NELP)||Letter to President Obama (pdf)||Home care workers, administrators, and care recipients urging the Obama Administration to amend the companionship exemption||December 13, 2012|
|PHI||Official PHI Comments on Proposed Rule (pdf)||As submitted via regulations.gov||March 21, 2012|
|PHI||Statement for the Record by PHI (pdf)||For the Hearing on Ensuring Regulations Protect Access to Affordable and Quality Companion Care||March 20, 2012|
|PHI||Critique of NAHC/NPDA Membership Survey (pdf)||Examines how the validity of the survey is undermined by shoddy methodology.||February 16, 2012|
|National Council of La Raza||Caring for Caregivers: Latinos in the Direct-Care Workforce (pdf)||Overview of Latinos in the direct-care industry and how the companionship exemption affects conditions for these workers.||February 3, 2012|
|National Domestic Workers Alliance||Remarks by Ai-jen Poo (pdf)||As given at US Department of Labor press briefing||December 15, 2011|
|Eldercare Workforce Alliance letter||Call for DOL to revise companionship exemption (pdf)||EWA co-conveners Steven Dawson and Nancy Lundebjerg urge the DOL to take timely action and issue a revision to the FLSA companionship exemption.||July 15, 2011|
|National Employment Law Project (NELP)||"Fair Pay for Home Care Workers" (pdf)||Makes recommendations regarding the reform of the US Department of Labor's companionship rules under the Fair Labor Standards Act||March 2011|
|Eldercare Workforce Alliance letter||"EWA Says ‘Companionship Exemption' Policy Needs Rethinking" (pdf)||The 25 member organizations of the Eldercare Workforce Alliance (EWA) sent this letter (pdf) to DOL Secretary Solis and HHS Secretary Sebelius urging them to extend federal wage and overtime protection to home care workers.||March 27, 2009|
|PHI letter to Obama Administration||"Request that the U.S. DOL revise interpretation of the ‘Companionship Exemption’ for Home Care Workers" (pdf)||Following the 2008 election, PHI sent this letter to the Obama Administration calling for an end to the “companionship exemption” for home care worker||November 21, 2008|
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is enacted to ensure a minimum standard of living for workers through the provision of a minimum wage, overtime pay, and other protections -- but domestic workers are excluded.
The FLSA is amended to include domestic employees such as housekeepers, full-time nannies, chauffeurs, and cleaners. However, persons employed as "companions to the elderly or infirm” remain excluded from the law.
The Department of Labor interprets the “companionship exemption” as including all direct-care workers in the home, even those employed by third parties such as home care agencies.
The Clinton DOL finds that “significant changes in the home care industry” have occurred and issues a “notice of proposed rulemaking” that would have made important changes to the exemption. The revision process is terminated, however, by the incoming Bush Administration.
The US Supreme Court, in a case brought by New York home care attendant Evelyn Coke, upholds the DOL’s authority to define exceptions to FLSA.
On December 27, 2011, the US Department of Labor (DOL) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that would end the exclusion of home care workers from minimum wage and overtime protections. The comment period on the proposed rule closed on March 21, 2012. PHI supports the DOL's proposed rule to amend the companionship exemption and calls for the issuance of a final rule as soon as possible.
PHI Media Relations Director
Organizations Supporting Minimum Wage & Overtime Protections for Home Care Workers
9to5, National Association of Working Women
A Better Balance: The Work & Family Legal Center
Alliance for Retired Americans
Alzheimer's Foundation of America
American Association for International Aging
American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)
American Association of University Women (AAUW)
American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
American Federation of Teachers Program on Retirement and Retirees
American Geriatrics Society
American Rights at Work
Arizona Direct Care Worker Association
Association for Gerontology and Human Development in Historically Black Colleges and Universities
Brazilian Immigrant Center
Break the Chain Campaign at IPS
Buffalo River Services
Campaign for Community Change
Caring Across Generations
Catalina In-Home Services, Inc.
Center for American Progress Action Fund
Center for Community Change
Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)
Coalition of Labor Union Women
Coalition on Human Needs
Community Action Partnership
Community Voices Heard
Cooperative Home Care Associates
Council on Social Work Education
Direct Care Alliance
Eldercare Workforce Alliance
Family Values @ Work
Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center
Florida Professional Association of Care Givers
Focus Health Educators, LLC
Food Chain Workers Alliance
From the Heart Companion Services
Graham Behavioral Services
Great Livin' LLC
Halcyon Home Care
Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers Association
Health Care for America NOW (HCAN)
Home Care Associates
Indiana Care Givers Association
Influencing State Policy
Institute for Policy Studies
Interfaith Worker Justice
International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace & Agricultural Implement Workers of America, UAW
Jobs with Justice
Labor Justice Committee of El Paso
Legal Aid Society
Maine Center for Economic Policy
Maine Women's Lobby
Make the Road New York
MataHari: Eye of the Day
Medicare Rights Center
Mississippi Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities
National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals
National Asian Pacific Center on Aging
National Association of Area Agencies on Aging
National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors
National Association of Direct Care Workers of Color
National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs
National Caucus and Center on Black Aged
National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care
National Council of Jewish Women
National Council of La Raza (NCLR)
National Council of Negro Women (NCNW)
National Council of Women’s Organizations
National Council on Aging
National Day Laborer Organizing Network
National Domestic Workers Alliance/ La Alianza National de Trabajadores del Hogar
National Hispanic Council on Aging
National Immigration Law Center
National Indian Council on Aging
National Network of Career Nursing Assistants
National Partnership for Women & Families
National Priorities Project
National Senior Citizens Law Center
National Women’s Law Center
NCB Capital Impact
NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
New Mexico Direct Caregivers Coalition
North Carolina Justice Center
Northwest Workersʹ Justice Project
OWL - The Voice of Midlife and Older Women
Paradise Home Care Cooperative
Paso del Norte Civil Rights Project
Pennsylvania Direct Care Workers Association
Philipino Workers Center
Provincial Council of the Clerics of St. Viator (Viatorians)
Public Justice Center
Restaurant Opportunities Centers United
Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law
Senior Service America, Inc.
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
Sociologists for Women in Society
Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice
Taxi Workers Alliance of Pennsylvania
The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care
Training Academy for Personal Caregivers and Assistants
United Food and Commercial Workers
United Steelworkers (USW)
Washington Community Action Network
Washtenaw County Workers' Center
Weinberg, Roger & Rosenfeld
Wider Opportunities for Women
Wisconsin Direct Caregiver Alliance
Women of Color Policy Network, NYU Wagner
Women’s Research & Education Institute
President Obama Announces Home Care Rule Change
In this announcement, President Obama declares his support for a new DOL rule that would end the "companionship exemption": a DOL ruling that excludes home care workers from minimum wage and overtime.
Walk a Day in My Shoes: Barack Obama
In 2007, Senator Obama spent a day working alongside homecare worker Pauline Beck of Alameda, California, a mother of six children who earns $10.50 an hour and gets no sick time, overtime, or vacation pay.
We Can't Wait: Pauline Beck
In 2007, then-Senator Barack Obama spent a day with Pauline Beck, a homecare worker. He worked alongside her, getting to know the daily life and concerns of a homecare worker. Now, as President, he has taken action that will require homecare workers recieve at least a minimum wage and overtime protections - which many were previously exempt from.
Evelyn Coke Tribute Video
Home care worker Evelyn Coke brought her fight for fair pay all the way to the Supreme Court. PHI released this video on the first anniversary of her passing.
She loved the work, but she earned only around $7 an hour and got no overtime pay. For years Ms. Coke, a single mother of five, quietly grumbled, and then, quite uncharacteristically, rebelled. (New York Times)