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Happy Labor Day from PHI!

September 3, 2015

PHI would like to wish the nation’s nearly 4.3 million direct-care workers a happy Labor Day.

Direct-care workers provide invaluable care for elders and people with disabilities, allowing them to live with dignity and independence. Yet they often earn low wages that do not come close to matching the value of the care they provide.

As PHI Vice President of Policy Robert Espinoza wrote in a September 2 Huffington Post editorial, direct-care workers “perform challenging work that requires a multitude of skills, significant emotional intelligence, and exceptional communication and problem-solving skills.

“Unfortunately,” he continues, “direct care has long been categorized as ‘unskilled’ and paid dismally.”

Espinoza highlights several ways to improve the quality jobs for direct-care workers, including ensuring higher quality training and meaningful career-advancement opportunities.

A Celebration of Victory

Labor Day also presents a good opportunity to celebrate a recent significant victory for home care workers.

On August 21, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld a U.S. Department of Labor rule change that finally will extend the basic wage protections of minimum wage and overtime pay to home care workers.

For decades, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act had excluded home care workers from these protections.

But, the court’s unanimous decision said, today’s home care workers are “professional caregivers, often with training or certification, who work for agencies that profit from the employees’ services.”

On this Labor Day, join us in celebrating all direct-care workers and this major legal victory, which at long last confirms the professionalism of home care workers, and the importance of the work they do.

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