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NY Times Editorial Says New DOL Rule Is “Indispensable” to Quality Home Care System

July 10, 2014

Yet again, The New York Times editorial board has urged that basic federal labor protections be extended to home care workers under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

In Pushback on Home Care, published on June 29, the Times says that to develop the “high-quality, broadly accessible home care system” that our nation needs, “Fair pay for home care workers is an indispensable step in that direction.”

The latest Times editorial is a response to efforts to delay — or thwart altogether — the new Department of Labor (DOL) rule to provide minimum wage and overtime protections to home care workers. The new regulation is scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2015.

The National Association of Medicaid Directors requested in April that DOL delay the implementation of the new rule by 18 months.

More recently, the National Association of Home Care and Hospice, along with two other home care industry groups, filed a federal lawsuit saying that DOL “exceeded its authority and did not follow proper procedures” when promulgating the new rule, the editorial explains.

The Times calls the grounds for the suit “a stretch,” since the Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that DOL had the authority to revise the antiquated “companionship exemption” that excludes home care workers from federal minimum wage and overtime protections.

“How to best provide and pay for home care is a big issue, for families, for society and for government. But systematically underpaying the work force is part of that problem, not its solution,” the editors write.

See “Media Coverage” on the PHI Campaign for Fair Pay website to read other New York Times editorials calling for basic wage protections for home care workers.

— by Deane Beebe

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