Home Care Workers in the News
In late October, the media covered the quality of home care workers’ jobs, the need to prepare now for a new regulation that extends home care workers basic federal labor protections, and how some are opposed to the new regulation.
National Public Radio reported that home care workers, who earn low wages and often have no health care coverage, are rallying to make their jobs better, in a story that aired on October 28.
The Affordable Care Act provides an opportunity to improve the quality of home care jobs, said Martha Ross, a researcher with the Brookings Institution.
“Home care workers should be considered — and compensated — as vital front-line personnel,” Ross said.
They can contribute to better care. Down the line that can contribute to reduced costs through reduced hospitalizations or going back into a nursing home and over time you can take those savings and put them into increased earnings for that home care worker.
A Bloomberg BNA article reports that home care employers should prepare now for the implementation of the new Department of Labor (DOL) regulation that extends home care workers minimum wage and overtime protections — even though DOL is delaying enforcement of the rule.
In “Timely Compliance With Home-Care Rule Needs Year-End Effort,” published on October 24, Sarah Leberstein, a staff attorney with the National Employment Law Project, urges employers to understand their state law’s requirement because the effect of the final rule will vary by state.
“The key change that is applicable to private employers and to states is going to be tracking worker hours and better record-keeping practices,” Leberstein said.
“Employers that show good-faith compliance efforts now may avoid an audit or lawsuit later,” the article explains.
Bloomberg Businessweek also covers the new DOL rule in “Raise Pay for Home-Care Aides? Disability-Rights Groups Say No Way.”
The article reports on the opposition to the new regulations by Senate Republicans and some disability associations.
Recruiting home care workers is a challenge because the wages are so low, explains the article.
“If we don’t solve this now, we’re going to really be facing a crisis,” PHI Director of Policy Research Abby Marquand is quoted as saying.
The article concludes with “The bottom line: Labor advocates argue higher wages are needed to attract better workers to home care for disabled people.”
— by Deane Beebe