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Home Care Workers Will Be Paid More Soon

Written by Ken Gaebler
Published: 10/7/2015

This week, the home care industry lost the final battle in its efforts to block minimum wage and overtime pay requirements for home care giving employees.

It's official. Many of the two million home care workers in the United States may be getting a salary bump in the coming months.

Minimum Wage and Overtime Pay for Home Care Givers

This week, the Supreme Court decided not to weigh in on the U.S. Department of Labor's Home Care Final Rule, which means that the new law will take effect on October 13, 2015.

If you're not familiar with this law, here's what you need to know.

In short, the law ends an exemption from minimum wage and overtime pay that previously applied to caregivers.

Previously, a federal law enacted in 1974 included rules that exempted domestic caregivers from minimum wage and overtime requirements. In part, that was because most home care givers were hired directly by families back in the seventies and there were not many large employers. Today, however, in-home care is a big business with many large national and local providers.

Resistance from Home Care Companies

Home care companies have been fighting the new federal standards in the courts. Needless to say, many home care employers are not keen on paying workers more money. But this week's news closes the case on the matter, ensuring that care giving workers will soon be entitled to minimum wage and overtime pay.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez said yesterday that the law "will ensure fair wages for the nearly two million home care workers who provide critical services, and it will help ensure a stable and professional workforce for people who need those services."

Many in favor of the law argue that better pay for home care workers will result in better quality care for a fast-growing elderly population. Other supporters simply point out that home care is emotionally and physically demanding work, and that it's only fair to compensate workers reasonably.

Opponents say the new law is burdensome, and that many entrepreneurs may be discouraged from starting a home health care business at a critical time when the need for home care support is going through the roof.

30 Days to Get Ready

Many home care employers already pay minimum wage, and many often cap worker hours at 40 hours a week to avoid any overtime pay issues. But others must quickly change to be compliant with the new law.

If you do employ home care workers and need to make changes, you have some time to start following the new rules. The Department of Labor will not begin enforcement of the final rule before Nov. 12, 2015.

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