NELP Decries U.S. District Court Judge’s Decision Vacating Federal Minimum Wage Rules for Home Care Workers

Employers Should Continue Implementation to Ensure Stability of Care and Services

New York, NY—On Wednesday, a federal district court in Washington, D.C. issued an order at the request of the home care industry and the International Franchise Association vacating the federal rule requiring minimum wage and overtime protections for home care workers—basic legal protections enjoyed by most other workers in our country.

Despite this judge’s opinion, responsible employers, including state governments and private agencies, should continue their plans to implement the fair-pay protections for the home care workers. Because the rules, finalized in October 2013, gave employers and states an unprecedented 15 months to prepare for and implement any changes, many employers and some states have already taken the necessary steps to ensure minimum wages and overtime pay for their workers.

The following statement can be attributed to Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project:

“Laboring in our nation’s fastest-growing workforce, America’s two million home care workers—90 percent of whom are women and half women of color—should not be held hostage by the industry lobbying groups seeking to block these most minimal pay standards.

“Consumers who rely on the care and services these essential workers provide will suffer, too, as high turnover and worker shortages plague an industry that suffers from low pay. One in five home care workers lives below the poverty line. Nearly half are forced to rely on public assistance to make ends meet, burdening already cash-strapped states.

“The Department of Labor has acted within its authority, painstakingly assessing the needs of the industry and its workforce through a transparent and complete rulemaking process that stretched over five years. It has done the right thing by the affected workers, the clients they serve, and a vital growing sector of our economy. The reforms adopted by the Department should move ahead, and NELP stands ready to work with allies in the states to ensure a smooth transition.”

Emma Stieglitz
(646) 200-5307

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Christine L. Owens

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