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Media Highlights Home Care Workers’ Lack of Wage Protections

August 8, 2013

In recent weeks, numerous media outlets have focused attention on the Obama Administration‘s continued delay in following through with its December 2011 promise to extend wage protections to home care workers.

An August 2 editorial in the Los Angeles Times argued that extending these protections to home care workers is a matter of basic fairness.

A July 31 article in the Dallas Business Journal puts the spotlight on Kevin Stewart, who owns a home care agency in North Dallas and believes that home care workers deserve fair pay. published an article on July 25 asking Obama to keep his promise to home care workers.

Catherine Singley, senior policy analyst for the National Council of La Raza, is quoted in the article saying that home care workers’ exemption from wage protections rests on a fundamental misunderstanding of what they actually do.

“The definition of companion should really be restricted to those family members or neighbors who occasionally look in on a person with a disability or the elderly person,” she said. “But not to live-in home care workers who are at people’s side for everything from showering and dressing to feeding.”

Additionally, a July 26 Moyers & Company editorial pointed out that many home care workers are among the 3.5 million Americans earning the federal minimum wage or less.

Other Media Coverage of Direct-Care Workers

Direct-care workers were also the topic in other media outlets in recent weeks.

California Health Report published “The Color of Care,” an article about how race, culture, and religion can affect direct-care work, on July 29. 

In it, PHI Organizational Change Consultant MariaElena Del Valle is quoted explaining how PHI Coaching Communication skills can combat some of the biases that workers may experience while delivering care.

“Active listening means that you focus on the perspective of the speaker, and that requires the listener to let go of cultural biases that come up,” she says in the article.

Meanwhile, the Traverse City Record-Eagle printed a column by Fred Goldenberg on August 4 which cited the recent PHI study of personal care aide standards by state, as well as the PHCAST project taking place in Michigan.

PHCAST is a three-year demonstration program, created by the Affordable Care Act, designed to help six states establish certification programs for personal and home care aides.

— by Matthew Ozga

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