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Report and Commentaries Support Companionship Exemption Revision

March 1, 2012

A recent study argues that extending federal minimum wage and overtime protections to home care workers will improve the quality of their jobs, stabilize the home care workforce, and boost recruitment and retention in the home care field.

In the report, published by the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey Institute, author Kristin Smith compares hourly wages among different types of direct-care workers.

She finds that personal care aides and home health aides earn much lower wages, on average, compared with direct-care workers employed in nursing homes and hospitals.

The Obama Administration proposed the changes in the Fair Labor Standards Act to extend minimum wage and overtime protections to most home care workers in late 2011. Following a public-comment period, the changes could take effect by this summer.

Media Continues to Track Story

The proposal to amend the companionship exemption has received additional media attention in recent days, including a commentary from PHI, “Home Care Workers Need Your Support,” published at the Community Catalyst Health Policy Hub. Community Catalyst organizes advocates to ensure that local communities have a role in transforming health care in their communities.

Commentaries also appeared in The Nation and The Hill.

Additionally, Bloomberg Businessweek published an article on the companionship exemption, “Growing Home Care Industry May Have to Raise Pay,” on Feb. 28. It includes a refutation of the home industry’s claim that home care costs would increase if basic labor protections are extended to workers.

Submit a Comment

The deadline for submitting an official comment is March 12.

To submit an official comment, learn more, and read other coverage on the companionship exemption, visit the PHI Fair Pay for Home Care Workers site.

— by Matthew Ozga

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