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Webinar Explains New Home Care Worker Wage Rule

December 16, 2015

A December 9 webinar held by the National Employment Law Project (NELP) detailed the implications of a federal rule change extending basic wage protections to home care workers.

The rule change, which was implemented in October and will begin to be fully enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor in 2016, extends minimum-wage and overtime protections to home care workers for the first time under federal labor law.

Moderated by NELP Program Director Cathy Ruckelshaus, the webinar begins with NELP senior staff attorney Sarah Leberstein explaining which workers are — and aren’t — newly covered under the change, and goes over how the new federal rule change interacts with various state laws.

Later, Sally Dworak-Fisher, attorney at the Public Justice Center, goes into more detail about how the rule change could possibly be interpreted in different states, and then discusses the issue of home care workers being misidentified as independent contractors rather than full-fledged employees.

SEIU assistant general counsel Renee Gerni details the legal history of the rule change. Attorney Artemio Guerra of Getman & Sweeney, PLLC talks about how sleep time will be compensated in New York State and explains how the issue of joint employment could affect how home care workers are paid.

Finally, labor attorney Derek Braziel of Lee & Braziel, LLP talks about the potential compliance issues that will likely arise as employers confront the new rule, paying particular attention to travel time, meal time, and rest time for long-stay aides.

Slides from the webinar (pdf) are available at the NELP website.

The PHI Campaign for Fair Pay website also includes numerous resources designed to guide successful implementation of the home care wage rule, including an October 2015 brief highlighting measures that New York State policymakers can take.

— by Matthew Ozga

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