The Obama Administration has announced that it will extend the U.S. minimum wage and overtime laws, created under the Fair Labor Standards Act, to cover home care aides who assist the elderly and disabled, allowing them to remain in their homes. The extension of this coverage will begin January 2015 and is expected to impact almost two million home care aides.
As the law currently stands, following a 2007 U.S. Supreme Court decision, the Labor Department’s exemption of so-called companionship workers from the federal wage law includes health workers. The Department initially responded by attempting to redefine companionship care to exclude those providing healthcare, but was met by opposition from Republicans who warned it would result in making it too costly for patients to remain at home. In response, twenty-one states and the District of Columbia extended state minimum wage laws to home health workers, with fifteen of those even granting overtime benefits to those workers. Now, under the Obama Administration, the Labor Department is finalizing its policy toward at home care aides by extending the Fair Labor Standards Act to those who provide health services (not simply fellowship) to others at home.
To learn more about the history behind this policy change and exactly what type of home care aides will be impacted by the change in law, click here.