Last month, the
U.S. Department of Labor announced new regulations that would grant
millions of in-home health care workers the right to a minimum wage and overtime pay as part of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
the Labor Department's new rule, which takes effect January 1, 2015,
nearly 2 million workers who provide direct in-home assistance to the
elderly and those with disabilities, illnesses or injuries would be
entitled to the same basic labor protections most American workers
Since 1974, direct care workers have been excluded from federal minimum wage and overtime laws after being put into a "companion services" category, which is the same as babysitters and is a group that is exempt from such protections.
along with 14 other states, however, already extend state minimum wage
and overtime protections to direct care workers, so the new rule won't have as big of an impact in the Prairie State as compared to others.
Nonetheless, Ai-jen Poo, executive director of the National Domestic
Workers Alliance, said the new regulations are a crucial step forward in the effort to stabilize a rapidly-growing workforce comprised of mainly women, particularly women of color and immigrants.