Home Care Workers Deserve Minimum Wage Protection

Act to Ensure successful implementation in the states.

Value the Care #9: Advocating for Implementation - Outlines actions YOU can take to ensure your state is prepared to implement minimum wage and overtime for home care workers on January 1st.

PHI's State Implementation Toolkit (pdf) - Provides resources to assist states with successful implementation.

WE DID IT!

After almost 40 years of exclusion, home care workers will finally be covered by the same federal labor protections that apply to almost every other worker in the nation.

Labor Secretary Thomas Perez announced on September 17, 2013 that minimum wage and overtime law will soon be extended to home care workers in all 50 states. This is...

Good for Workers
Gaining basic labor protections is an important step in establishing a wage floor from which the fight for a living wage can continue.

Good for Women
This workforce is 90% women--many supporting families on what they earn. They benefit directly from the security that these labor protections bring.

Good for America
Improving home care jobs means it will be easier to recruit and retain good workers for the fastest growing workforce in the nation.

THANK YOU for your part in achieving this important victory! Let's continue to work together to ensure America is prepared to care.

Implementation Guides


From the Department of Labor


Facts About the Revised FLSA

FLSA Facts: Understanding the Revised Companionship Exemption - This fact sheet outlines the primary provisions of the revised regulation, explains which workers will and will not be newly eligible for minimum wage and overtime protections, and examines how the revision will affect consumer-directed programs.


MAP: The Expansion of Labor Protections by State

A map showing how the expansion of minimum wage and overtime laws to home care workers impacts each state.


Reports & Fact Sheets


Storybook

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.


Additional Resources

Evelyn Coke (1934-2009) Plaintiff in Long Island Care at Home v. CokeEvelyn Coke (1934-2009) Plaintiff in Long Island Care at Home v. Coke

2013

In January of 2013, the draft rule was sent to the White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB) for final review. On September 17, the DOL announced that the rule had been finalized and it was published in the Federal Register on October 1. Home care workers will be covered by minimum wage and overtime starting in January 2015.

2011

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, after being extended twice, closed on March 21, 2012. At least three quarters of the 26,000 comments support DOL's efforts to change the rule.

2007

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.

2001

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.

1975

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.

1974

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.

1938

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.

Deane Beebe
PHI Media Relations Director
(718) 928-2033
DBeebe@PHInational.org

Media Coverage

SourceTitleDate
Bloomberg BNA Timely Compliance with Home-Care Rule Needs Year-End Effort October 24, 2014
New York Times Home Care Workers Still Waiting on Fair Wages October 8, 2014
MSNBC Obama Administration Delays Raising Wages for Home Care Workers October 8, 2014
New York Times Minimum Wage and Overtime Protections Are Delayed for Home-Care Workers October 7, 2014
Wall Street Journal Labor Department Upholds Home Health-Care Pay Rule, Delays Enforcement October 7, 2014
CNN Money Minimum Wage for Home Health Workers Is Delayed October 7, 2014
Associated Press U.S. to Delay Enforcing Rules for Home-Care Workers October 7, 2014
Huffington Post White House Delays Enforcement of Minimum Wage, Overtime for Home Care Workers October 7, 2014
The Hill Feds Delay Penalties on Home Health Aides' Pay October 7, 2014
BuzzFeed Labor Department Will Delay Enforcement of Home-Care Workers Wage Protections October 7, 2014
Krystal Clear (MSNBC) Will Obama Let Down the Left Again? October 1, 2014
The Cycle (MSNBC) Home Care Workers Are Slipping Through the Cracks September 30, 2014
Home Health Care News Home Care Workers Urge Labor Secretary for Wage Increase -- Soon September 30, 2014
The Hill Minimum Wage for Home Care Workers "in Jeopardy," Groups Say September 30, 2014
Huffington Post Worker Groups 'Alarmed' White House May Delay New Minimum Wage, Overtime Rule September 29, 2014
Kansas Health Institute News Service Ruling on In-Home Medicaid Services Creates Questions for Providers, Beneficiaries September 29, 20114
New York Times Labor Rights for Home Care Workers September 26, 2014
MSNBC Obama Administration Weighs Delay for Raising Wages September 26, 2014
Demos How Home Health Care Aides Are a Microcosm of the Jobs Crisis July 22, 2014
New York Times Pushback on Home Care June 29, 2014
Tennessean Home Care Workers Denied Fair-Labor Protections June 26, 2014
Newsday Home-Care Workers Deserve Better June 11, 2014
New York Times No Reason to Delay Fair Wages May 16, 2014
Stateline States Confront "New Mindset" on Home Care Workers' Wages April 25, 2014
Provider Companionship Exemption: Know the Rules April 2014
Center for Law and Social Policy Justice Begins at Home: Extending FLSA Protections to Home Care Workers December 5, 2013
Home Health Care News House Members Weigh Home Care Overtime Protection Rule November 21, 2013
The Hill Revised Companionship Rule Strengthens the Home Care Workforce November 21, 2013
Washington Times LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Home Care Workers Deserve Fair Wages November 7, 2013
Women's eNews Shutdown Delays Prep to Pay Health Aides More October 28, 2013
Huffington Post The Wait Is Over: 2 Million Home Care Workers No Longer Excluded from Minimum Wage October 2, 2013
  Final rule is published October 1, 2013
New York Times Better Pay -- Maybe -- for Home Care Aides September 26, 2013
Bloomberg Boomers Face Caregivers Shortage as U.S. Offers New Rules September 25, 2013
New York Times Home Care in the Home Stretch September 23, 2013
NBCNews.com Better Pay Coming for Home Health Care Workers September 20, 2013
Wall Street Journal Labor Department Adds Protections for Home-Health-Care Workers September 18, 2013
National Public Radio Home Care Workers to Be Included in Wage and Overtime Law September 18, 2013
New York Times U.S. to Include Home Care Workers in Wage and Overtime Law September 17, 2013
Los Angeles Times Minimum Wage, Overtime Protections Extended to Direct Care Workers September 17, 2013
Associated Press OT, Minimum Wage Extended to Health Care Workers September 17, 2013
Huffington Post White House Brings Minimum Wage, Overtime Protections to 2 Million Home Care Workers September 17, 2013
US Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division News Release September 17, 2013
Patriot Ledger It Takes a Special Person to Do Home Care September 2, 2013
Providence Journal Aides to the Disabled Deserve Fair Wage August 31, 2013
Economic Policy Institute To Work with Dignity: The Unfinished March Toward a Decent Minimum Wage August 26, 2013
Nation Domestic Worker Labor Leader: Federal Victory Is in Sight August 15, 2013
Los Angeles Times Give America's Caregivers a Break August 2, 2013
Dallas Business Journal Should Home Health Workers Get Minimum Wage and OT? July 31, 2013
Moyers & Company The Minimum Wage Doesn't Apply to Everyone July 26, 2013
HispanicBusiness.com Home Care Workers Still Awaiting Reforms July 25, 2013
The Hill Home Care Workers Press Administration for Minimum Wage July 23, 2013
Think Progress Domestic Workers Pressure Labor Secretary to Extend Worker Protections July 23, 2013
NUVO The Caregivers' Dilemma July 10, 2013
Home Health Care News Editorial: Home Care Workers Need More Attention July 1, 2013
Huffington Post After 75 Years, Minimum Wage Protections Still Elude Home Care Workers June 28, 2013
The Hill Ending Home Care Workers' Exclusion from the Fair Labor Standards Act Will Help America Prepare to Care June 26, 2013
am New York Home Care Aides Deserve Labor Protections June 26, 2013
The Grio What Obama Could Do for Home Health Care Workers June 25, 2013
The Hill A Vision on the Verge of Realization June 24, 2013
Up with Steve Kornacki Labor Protections Still Elude Home Care Workers June 22, 2013
New York Times A Deadline Missed June 18, 2013
Huffington Post Caregiving Should Be Middle Class Work June 17, 2013
Newsday Give Home Care Workers the Labor Standards Others Expect June 14, 2013
Huffington Post Valuing the Home Care Workforce June 14, 2013
The Hill Home Care Workers Demand Minimum Wage, Overtime Protections June 11, 2013
WBEZ 91.5 Chicago Underpaid, Exploited, and Living in Our Homes June 10, 2013
Women's eNews Home Health Aides Keep Watchful Wait on Obama May 22, 2013
Washington Post Personal-Care Aides, Invaluable and Ignored May 13, 2013
HealthyCal.org Fair Pay in Best Interests of Home Care Consumers May 7, 2013
Knoxville News Sentinel Those Who Work in Home Care Need Upgrades in Pay May 4, 2013
Yahoo! News Home Care Workers in Wait-and-See Over Minimum Wage Proposal May 2, 2013
Diane Rehm Show The Growing Demand for Home Health Aides May 1, 2013
New York Times The Long Wait for Wage Protections April 30, 2013
Kaiser Health News Obama Administration Mulls Rule to Give Home Health Aides Better Wages April 29, 2013
Healthcare Finance News Direct-Care Workers Apply Pressure April 22, 2013
Home Health Care News Home Care Workers to Obama: "We're Still Waiting" April 18, 2013
Modern Healthcare Advocates Fear Long Delay for Rule on Home-Care Worker Pay April 18, 2013
The Hill's Congress Blog Women's Work: The Unfinished Business of Frances Perkins April 11, 2013
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Pay Home-Care Aides Fairly April 10, 2013
AARP Blog Home Health Aides -- More Than Just Babysitters April 5, 2013
HealthyCal.org Home Care Workers Are in Demand, But Still Struggling to Make Ends Meet March 28, 2013
Miami Herald The Need for In-Home Care Rises as Baby Boomers Age March 16, 2013
CNN Money Why Grandma's Aide Earns So Little March 12, 2013
CNN Money America's Fastest Growing Job Pays Poorly March 11, 2013
The Hill Act Now on Fair Wages for Home Care Aides March 6, 2013
New York Times Home Care Rules in the Home Stretch February 24, 2013
Detroit Free Press It Worked in Michigan; Raise Wages for Home Care Workers Across the Nation February 28, 2013
The Hill Administration Revives Wage and Overtime Fight for Home-Care Workers February 20, 2013
Huffington Post The State of Quality Care Demands Quality Jobs February 13, 2013
National Public Radio Home Care Aides Away Decision on New Labor Rules February 3, 2013
American Prospect Workers, Not Babysitters January 24, 2013
The Hill Mr. President, keep your promise to domestic and homecare workers January 9, 2013
Philadelphia Inquirer Be Fair to Home-Care Workers December 28, 2012
Huffington Post A Stable Workforce Is Essential for People with Disabilities December 18, 2012
Huffington Post Home Care Workers Urge Obama to Follow Through on Granting Minimum Wage Protections December 13, 2012
MomsRising.org Ask the President to Keep His Promise to Home Care Workers December 12, 2012
New York Times A Troubling Portrait of Domestic Work December 2, 2012
Huffington Post Closing the Circle of Care for Our Veterans November 11, 2012
National Public Radio Home Health Aides: In Demand, Yet Paid Little October 16, 2012
Huffington Post Home Health Aides: The Front Lines of the Future September 8, 2012
Des Moines Register Letter to the editor September 5, 2012
Huffington Post What Will Excluded Workers Celebrate Next Labor Day? September 4, 2012
Forbes This Labor Day, Let’s Celebrate Domestic Workers September 3, 2012
Huffington Post Let’s Not Make Home Care Workers Wait Any Longer for Their Rights August 31, 2012
New York Times Rules Delayed, Governing Denied August 11, 2012
McClatchy Newspapers Home Health Workers Sweat Obama Rule on Pay August 7, 2012
Tennessean Let's Pay Home-Care Providers Fairly (pdf) August 1, 2012
MomsRising.org Show Respect for Home Care Aides — Some Day You Mean Need One! July 31, 2012
Connie Schultz, Creators.com Home Care Workers' Pay: Eventually, It's Personal July 2, 2012
Arizona Republic Home Care Workers Deserve Job Protections July 2, 2012
New York Times Eileen Boris and Jennifer Klein: Home Care Workers Aren’t Just “Companions” July 1, 2012
Houston Chronicle Renee Tillman: Home Care Workers Deserve Basic Rights June 29, 2012
Department of Labor blog Adriana Kugler: Taking Care of Those Who Take Care of Us June 28, 2012
San Jose Mercury News Sascha Bittner: Home Care Workers Deserve Minimum Wage and Overtime Pay June 27, 2012
BusinessWeek America’s Fastest-Growing Workforce Fears the Clock Is Running Out June 13, 2012
CNN Home care workers deserve protections June 11, 2012
BrainTrack Will Proposed Regulations Help Home Care Aides? May 16, 2012
USA Today Home health care is one of the most profitable franchises May 7, 2012
New York Times editorial Keeping a Promise to Home Care Aides April 15, 2012
WERE 1490AM Radio interview with PHI's Steve Edelstein March 30, 2012
Washington Post Home health aides deserve a living wage March 29, 2012
American Prospect Hard Work Doesn't Pay for Home-Care Workers March 22, 2012
Newsday Watts: Home care workers deserve fair wages March 6, 2012
Bloomberg Businessweek Growing Home Care Industry May Have to Raise Pay February 28, 2012
Washington Times Home Care Workers Can Relieve the Stress of Caregiving February 23, 2012
Huffington Post Looking Out for Homecare Workers, Looking Out for Our Future February 21, 2012
USA Today High turnover affects home health care quality February 15, 2012
New York Times Fair Pay for Home Care Workers February 8, 2012
Sojourner Truth Program, KPFK Los Angeles Dr. Dorie Seavey Discusses the Companionship Exemption January 5, 2012
Nation Winning Basic Care for Care Givers December 26, 2011
New York Times Fairness for Home Care Aides December 25, 2011
New York Times Wage Protection Planned for Home Care Workers December 15, 2011
Associated Press Plan Would Lift Wages of Home Care Workers December 15, 2011
USA Today Obama Proposes Overtime Initiative December 15, 2011
  President Obama announces support for new rule December 15, 2011
San Jose Mercury News Home care workers should not be exempt from minimum wage laws December 5, 2011
Huffington Post Health Care Workers On Verge Of Winning Equal Rights, Higher Pay December 1, 2011
New York Times editorial Fair Pay for Hard Work November 25, 2011
Economix blog, New York Times The Depreciation of Care at Home October 31, 2011
Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law Home Health Aides Deserve Minimum Wage and Overtime Protections October 25, 2011
State legislators' letter to DOL The FLSA should no longer exclude home care workers (pdf) August 12, 2011
Patriot-News Federal Law doesn't treat home care workers fairly July 24, 2011
New York Times A Fair Wage for Home Care Workers July 20, 2011
THE HILL'S Congress Blog When companionship doesn't pay July 13, 2011
HealthWatch: THE HILL'S Healthcare Blog Effort to give home care workers labor protections gains steam on two fronts June 16, 2011
Newsday op-ed OPINION: Home health workers need more pay protections (pdf) July 22, 2010
New York Times letter Home Care Workers June 9, 2010
New York Times editorial Domestic Workers' Rights June 6, 2010
New York Times letter Home Health Workers February 7, 2010
New York Times editorial Lilly and Evelyn January 28, 2010
New York Times Evelyn Coke, Home Care Aide Who Fought Pay Rule, Is Dead at 74 August 9, 2009
New York Times editorial Fair Pay for Caregivers July 8, 2009
Press Release from Senator Harkin Harkin, Senators Urge Fairness for Home Care Workers June 11, 2009
New York Times editorial Caring for Caregivers January 27, 2009
New York Times Day in Court for Queens Home-Care Aide April 17, 2007

October 9, 2013

The Honorable Thomas E. Perez
Secretary of Labor U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20210

Dear Secretary Perez:

The organizations listed below commend you on issuing the final regulation extending minimum wage and overtime protections to millions of home care workers across the nation (RIN 1235-AA05, the “Application of the Fair Labor Standards Act to Domestic Service”).

As you know, the guarantee of these long-sought basic protections not only is a critical step for home care workers, but will also help to build and stabilize the workforce to meet growing demand from seniors and people with disabilities for home care services, which enable them to maintain their independence, health and safety while enjoying the comfort of their own homes. The new regulations are particularly important for women: almost 90 percent of home care workers are women, as are the majority of family caregivers who manage home care for aging, chronically ill, and disabled relatives.

The timing of this rule is auspicious – home care jobs are one of the nation’s fastest-growing occupations, projected to increase by 70 percent over the next decade (2010-2020). Currently, high turnover and a shortage of qualified workers hinder our national goal of enabling older adults and people with disabilities to remain living at home and active in their communities. Finalizing this rule is an important step in addressing these challenges. We look forward to working with you to ensure its effective implementation.

We are delighted that millions of home care workers will now be granted the basic labor protections they deserve, correcting a longstanding injustice and enabling these workers to better support their families and communities. Congratulations to you and your colleagues at the Department of Labor for your dedication to a thoughtful drafting and public review process and to ensuring that this revision came to fruition. We deeply appreciate your recognition of the important role of home care workers in securing access to high-quality long- term services and supports for all Americans.

Sincerely,

AFL-CIO
Alliance for Retired Americans
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
American Geriatrics Society
American Society on Aging
Association for Gerontology and Human Development in Historical Black Colleges and Universities
Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice
Campaign for Community Change
Caring Across Generations
Center for Effective Government
CLASP
Cooperative Home Care Associates
Coalition of Geriatric Nursing Organizations
Coalition on Human Needs
Demos
Direct Care Alliance
Eldercare Workforce Alliance
Family Values @ Work
Gray Panthers
Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers Association
International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace & Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW)
Jobs with Justice/American Rights at Work
Institute for Policy Studies
Interfaith Worker Justice
MomsRising
National Asian Pacific Center on Aging
National Consumers League
National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care
National Council of La Raza
National Council on Aging
National Domestic Workers Alliance
National Employment Law Project
National Hispanic Council on Aging
National Participant Network
National Partnership for Women & Families
National Women’s Law Center
NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
OWL-The Voice of Midlife and Older Women
PHI – Quality Care through Quality Jobs
Senior Service America, Inc.
Service Employees International Union
Wider Opportunities for Women
Women Employed
YWCA USA

Will Obama let down the left again?

October 1, 2014 - Krystal Clear original reporting - The Obama Administration weighs postponing a promised increase in wages for home care workers.


Krystal Ball: Home care workers are slipping through the cracks

September 30, 2014 - Krystall Ball notes that President Obama may be set to disappoint a major part of the Democratic coalition by delaying overtime protections to home care workers.


Biden: Home Care Workers Deserve Minimum Wage and Overtime

June 25, 2013 - Vice-President Biden, speaking on the 75th anniversary of the Fair Labor Standards Act, discusses the Administration's plans to honor its pledge to stop excluding home care workers from federal minimum wage and overtime protections. Shares personal story of employing caregivers for his mom.


MSNBC's Steve Kornacki on Home Care Workers' Lack of Federal Labor Protections

June 22, 2013 - Examines the political history that led to home care workers being excluded from federal minimum wage and overtime.


President Obama Announces Home Care Rule Change

December 15, 2011In 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)

September 19, 2013 - PHI National Policy Director Steve Edelstein discusses the announcement that federal minimum wage and overtime protections will be extended to most home care workers by January 2015 on America's Work Force Radio.

September 18, 2013 - PHI National Policy Director Steve Edelstein reacts to the federal rule that will extend minimum wage and overtime protections to most home care workers by January 2015 on NPR's Morning Edition.

April 18, 2013 - Audio from a press telebriefing featuring a range of stakeholders in support of the extension of federal labor protections to home care workers; Home care workers, employers, people with disabilities, and family caregivers.

May 1, 2013 - Carol Regan, government affairs director at PHI, is a featured guest on the Diane Rehm Show. She discusses the need to strengthen the home care workforce, the fastest growing occupation in America, and highlights efforts to reform the federal regulations that exclude home care workers from minimum wage and overtime protections.

October 26, 2012 - Dr. Dorie Seavey, director of policy research at PHI, is interviewed by Margaret Prescod for the "Sojourner Truth" radio show. The topic is the Department of Labor's proposed rule to end the companionship exemption.

March 30, 2012 - Steve Edelstein, PHI national policy director, discusses the background and current status of efforts to extend federal minimum wage and overtime protections to home care workers on the America’s Work Force radio program in Ohio.

March 7, 2012 - 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.