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Following U.S. Court of Appeals Decision in Federal Lawsuit, Workers, Home Care Recipients, and Advocates Respond to Impact of Minimum Wage and Overtime Protections for Home Care Workforce

August 21, 2015

Granting basic labor protections is the first necessary step to strengthen this increasingly critical workforce 

Washington, D.C. — A diverse group of stakeholders will convene a tele-press conference today, August 21, 2015, at 2:00 PM ET to discuss the U.S. Court of Appeals decision to grant federal minimum wage and overtime protections to our nation’s two million home care workers, reversing decades of exclusion from these basic labor protections. 

The tele-press conference will provide an analysis and reaction to the decision handed down from the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in the case Home Care Association, et al. v. Weil, et al., a lawsuit brought by for-profit home care associations against a new Department of Labor rule that would grant home care workers the right to minimum wage and overtime protections. Workers, home care consumers, family caregivers, and advocates will highlight why granting minimum wage and overtime  protections to home care workers is not only the right thing to do, it is also essential if we’re to meet the needs of our rapidly aging population as well as people with disabilities who rely on aides to live independently at home. 

DATE: August 21, 2015

TIME: 2:00 – 3:00 PM ET

WHERE: Conference Call Line: 888-466-9863, code: 8312628#

An audio recording will be available within 24 hours.

WHO: Organizers include: Caring Across Generations, National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), National Employment Law Project (NELP), PHI, Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

WHAT: Press conference analyzing U.S. District Court of Appeals decision on the DOL home care rule

SPEAKERS: Christine Owens, National Employment Law Project; D'Rosa Davis, home care worker; Nikki Brown-Booker, consumer; Robert Espinoza, PHI Vice President of Policy; Ai-jen Poo, Caring Across Generations; Karen Kulp, employer

BACKGROUND ON THE LAWSUIT

On January 14, 2015, in a lawsuit brought by home care industry groups, a U.S. District Court judge in Washington, D.C., struck down the United States Department of Labor's (US DOL) revised definition of exempt "companionship services." This ruling followed one in late December 2014 invalidating DOL's decision to exclude third-party employers from the exemption. The DOL's efforts were meant to finally bring home care workers under basic federal labor protections.

US DOL appealed the judge's ruling and oral arguments were heard on May 7, 2015. The D.C. Circuit ruled on the case today, finding the US DOL had acted within its authority in issuing the home care rule. 

Home care is one of the fastest-growing occupations in the country, and is projected to add one million new jobs over the next decade. Yet despite the increasing demand and critical services these healthcare professionals provide, they earn poverty wages. Half of all home care workers rely on public assistance to support their families, and more than half leave their jobs every year due to the poor working conditions.

Deane Beebe, Media Relations Director, PHI; dbeebe@phinational.org; 860-434-7719

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