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PHI Recognizes Anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act

July 26, 2012

President George H. W. Bush signs ADA on July 26, 1990

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) turns 22 on July 26.

The ADA, a federal civil rights law, gives people living with disabilities protection from discrimination and barriers in employment, transportation, public accommodations, public services, and telecommunications.

Yet these rights are often compromised when individuals are unable to find quality home care workers. For millions of people with disabilities, the ability to reside in the community and lead full, independent, and productive lives depends on the services and supports provided by their personal and home care aides.

In fact, a December 2011 Kaiser Commission study of the federal Money Follows the Person program noted that one of the two key barriers to moving people with disabilities out of nursing homes is the lack of availability of home care aides.

Strengthening the home care workforce is crucial to extending the rights of people with disabilities. That means treating home care workers with respect and dignity, beginning with ensuring that home care workers are protected by federal minimum wage and overtime laws.

The so-called “companionship exemption” under the Fair Labor Standards Act excludes home care workers from the same federal labor guarantees that most workers in the nation enjoy.

Fortunately, the Obama Administration has proposed a rule to revise the companionship exemption. However, it has yet to be finalized.

Sign the Petition

In honor of the ADA — and in support of home care workers — sign the petition to tell the U.S. Department of Labor and the White House to move quickly to extend fair pay to home care workers.

For more information on the companionship exemption, visit the PHI Fair Pay for Home Care Workers site.

— by Deane Beebe

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