DOL Announces Minimum Wage and OT Protections Extend to Direct Care Workers

The Department of Labor extends the Fair Labor Standards Act's overtime and minimum wage protections to direct care workers, effective Jan. 1, 2015

Direct care workers—or those who provide long-term care for the elderly or disabled—will now receive overtime and minimum wage protection, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Labor. According to the press release, the decision fulfills a promise President Obama made previously that would guarantee that direct care workers "receive a fair day's pay for a fair day’s work." The new decision will affect around 2 million home health and personal care workers.

Home health aides, personal care aides, nursing assistants, and others who help the elderly, injured, sick, or disabled will benefit from the rule, which, according to the DOL, will also ensure that those who receive assistance are receiving it from a high-quality and stable workforce. The rule will affect all direct care workers employed by home care agencies and third parties.

Though 15 states have minimum wage and overtime protection for direct care workers in place—in addition to six states and the District of Columbia, where these workers have minimum wage protection—the new rule extends the protection to the entire country.

According to the press release from the DOL, there are 1.9 million direct care workers in the United States, most of whom are employed by home care agencies. Of these nearly 2 million, 90 percent are women and 50 percent are minorities.

The rule, which will be effective on Jan. 1, 2015, also states that direct care workers who perform medically related services that require training are also entitled to minimum wage and overtime. Those employed by a person receiving services—or that person's family—are still considered exempt from minimum wage and overtime protection.

For more information, visit http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/whd/WHD20131922.htm.

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