"The Senior Care Resource Network"

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bill Would Give Salary, Overtime Protections to Home Health Care Staff
On Wednesday, Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) plans to introduce new legislation intended to extend federal minimum wage and overtime protections to home care workers who provide health and other domestic services to elderly and sick individuals, The Hill reports.

Sanchez's legislation would ensure that the wage protection under the Fair Labor Standards Act, which was expanded in 1974 to most domestic workers, also includes home care workers.

Under Sanchez's proposal, systems to gather wage and employment data on home care workers nationwide would be established, and it would authorize $25 million in grants annually over the next five years to help state recruitment efforts.

Sanchez said she hopes her proposal will encourage more people to enter the home care field, which continues to grow as demand for such services increases.

Sanchez's proposal has drawn support from AARP and the Direct Care Alliance, which noted that 27 million U.S. residents are expected to need long-term care by 2050, more than two times the demand seen in 2000.

AARP spokesperson Jordan McNerney said that although the organization has not reviewed Sanchez's bill, the group supports the concept. McNerney said, "As older Americans continue to choose home and community-based care over more costly nursing homes, the home health workers who care for them should be fairly compensated" (Lillis, The Hill, 7/27).

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