Success: Home Care Workers Win Minimum Wage Protections

Nursing Home Elderly Care

Target: Christine L. Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project

Goal: Applaud those who fought for minimum wage and overtime pay protections for home care workers.

Those who care for the disabled and elderly in their homes will finally have a guaranteed minimum wage and will be fairly paid for their overtime hours thanks to the years of work done by activists who understand that all workers deserve basic rights and fair compensation. This includes the many people who signed petitions such as ForceChange’s “Guarantee Minimum Wage for Home Care Workers.”

Protections for employees who work long, hard hours to care for our most vulnerable citizens have been pending for years after being tied up in court. Finally, it’s been ruled that the U.S. Department of Labor has the authority to extend standard wage and overtime protections guaranteed to other workers to home caretakers.

Since 1974, home care workers, who are 90 percent female and 50 percent people of color, have been subject to an arbitrary “exception” to the rule that all workers must be paid at least minimum wage and be given extra pay for working over 40 hours in a week. At last, these disadvantaged workers will get the pay they deserve. According to the executive director of the National Employment Law Project, the latest ruling on the issue will likely be considered final.

Sign our petition to thank the activist lawyers who fought for so long to ensure that some of our most commendable workers aren’t forced to accept criminally low wages for long hours.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Ms. Owens,

Recently, it was decided that the U.S. Department of Labor has the authority to extend minimum wage and overtime protections guaranteed to most of our nation’s workers to home care employees. For decades, home caretakers were subjected to a pointless exception to the rule that hourly workers must be paid based on the state’s minimum wage and be paid extra for working more than 40 hours in a single week. Thanks to your hard work, these people will finally gain their basic rights as laborers.

This win is especially important because so many home care workers are women and/or people of color–two groups that disproportionately suffer under poverty. The fact that their basic employee rights were withheld from them for so long is abhorrent considering how important their work is. Disabled persons and the elderly would be in a much worse place without them.

I appreciate everything you’ve done to fight for these basic protections for home caretakers. You deserve to be proud of the victory you’ve earned for some of our most important workers.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Ulrich Joho

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