CAG Statement on DOL Home Care Rule Decision

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CARING ACROSS GENERATIONS APPLAUDS APPEALS COURT DECISION GRANTING TWO MILLION HOME CARE WORKERS BASIC RIGHTS

Securing Basic Protections for Home Care Workers Is Crucial to Strengthening Critical, Growing Workforce

Washington, DC — Caring Across Generations applauds today’s decision in the case Home Care Association, et al. v. Weil, et al. by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Resolving the lawsuit brought by for-profit home care associations against a new Department of Labor rule that would grant home care workers the right to minimum wage and overtime protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the panel of three judges ruled that the rule was legally sound — and the right thing to do.

“This decision represents a major step forward, recognizing the value of care work in today’s economy,” said Ai-jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the co-director of the Caring Across Generations campaign. “Today’s ruling not only addresses a longstanding, shameful exclusion of professional caregivers from basic worker protections, it allows us to begin the real task at hand: strengthening this workforce for the enormous responsibility of caring for a growing aging population in America.”

“This is both a victory for home care providers — and for every family that may one day depend on the crucial support of a home care provider. The women and men who care for our aging moms, dads and grandparents will now be able to provide for their own families, too,” said Sarita Gupta, executive director of Jobs With Justice and the co-director of the Caring Across Generations campaign. “Extending minimum wage and overtime protections to this critical workforce is not just the right thing to do — now it’s the law of the land. This is a great first step toward transforming home care work into high-quality jobs that are good for America. Now it’s up to states to ensure that as they implement this rule, no one is harmed in any way by cuts to home care programs or caps on hours.”

“This ruling will mean the difference between constantly worrying about my bills and having a little breathing room. I’ve been a home care worker for 6 years, and I don’t get any overtime — it’s $9 an hour no matter how many hours we work and no matter how many years we have been on the job,” said D’Rosa Davis, a home care worker from Atlanta. “I love taking care of people, but my own family has been barely scraping by. I’m looking forward to being able to finally pay my rent without wondering whether I’ll be able to pay my light bill.”

“Without the assistance of my attendants, I wouldn’t be able to live independently in my home and stay in my community. They provide invaluable support that has allowed me to live on my own, get a graduate degree, and work as a marriage and family therapist,” said Nikki Brown-Booker of Oakland, California. “They are all hard workers, but because they’re paid through the state home care program, I have no say in their wages. I’m overjoyed that my home attendants will finally receive overtime pay for the long hours they work. I’d hate to lose any of my attendants. In order for this work to be sustainable, workers must make enough to be able to support themselves.”

Home care is one of the fastest-growing occupations in the country, and is projected to add over one million new jobs to the US economy over the next decade. Yet despite the increasing demand and critical services these healthcare professionals provide, they earn poverty wages. The majority of home care workers are women of color and increasingly immigrants, and earn on average less than $10/hour. More than half of all home care workers rely on public assistance to support their families, and one in two leave their jobs every year due to the poor working conditions.

 

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About Caring Across Generations

Caring Across Generations is a national movement of families, caregivers, people with disabilities and aging Americans working to transform the way we care in this country. By harnessing the power of online action, grassroots organizing and innovative culture change work, we are shifting how our nation values caregiving and calling for policy solutions that enable all of us to live and age with dignity and independence. For more information visit: www.caringacross.org.