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New York Times Again Supports Labor Protections for Home Care Workers

August 23, 2012

The New York Times published two editorials in August urging greater labor protections for home care workers.

In “Rules Delayed, Governing Denied,” an August 11 editorial, editors consider that delays on several regulatory changes proposed by the Obama Administration — including revisions to the companionship exemption — are being held up by election-year politics.

The Times suggests that the delays are a result of for-profit home care agencies protesting extending home care workers federal minimum wage and overtime protections as they did in the past, along with state officials concerned about their budgets.

“The best guess is that those forces are protesting again — behind the scenes,” conclude the editors.

Support for Workers’ Rights Bill

Rights for Domestic Workers,” published on August 9, expresses support for California bill A.B. 889 which would give basic labor protections to nannies, cooks, baby sitters, and other caregivers, including home care workers.

The Times explains that the bill — “inspired by legislation passed in 2010 in New York State” — would give these workers overtime pay, ease eligibility requirements for workers’ compensation, and would entitle workers time for meals and rest breaks. The bill also includes protections specific to domestic laborers such as the right to eight hours of sleep for live-in workers.

Workers from California’s In-Home Supportive Services program are explicitly excluded from the bill, however.

“We hope California and other states will be willing to do what the federal government has not — which is to set basic standards to guarantee domestic workers decent working conditions and pay,” the editors write.

The bill has passed in the Assembly and will be taken up by the State Senate by the end of August.

— by Deane Beebe

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