Home Care Workers To Be Included In Wage And Overtime Law

There are about 2 million home care workers in the U.S. But currently they are not covered under minimum wage and overtime laws. That will change in January of 2015 under new regulations announced by the Obama administration.

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Almost 2 million Americans are employed as home care workers. Wow. Many of them are not covered by minimum wage and overtime laws, but that is about to change. NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports.

WENDY KAUFMAN, BYLINE: The new rules, announced by the White House, cover in-home aides who assist the elderly or the disabled with things like dressing, feeding and taking medications.

While many make a bit more than the federal minimum wage, they aren't afforded overtime pay. They've been lumped into a labor classification with baby sitters, and have been exempt from federal wage and overtime rules. That will change in January 2015, when the rules go into effect.

Steve Edelstein, the national policy director of PHI, a nonprofit focused on improving things for home care aides, applauds the new regulations.

STEVE EDELSTEIN: If we are really serious about helping elders and people with disabilities live in their homes, and in their communities, and live as independently as possible, we really need to focus on this workforce and have policies that help to support them to do this work.

KAUFMAN: But a leading employer of home care workers - a company called Home Instead - says the new rules could increase the cost for families who pay for care.

Wendy Kaufman, NPR News.

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