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Home Health Care Workers Gain Minimum Wage Rights

September 20, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC (September 20, 2013) -- Minimum wage and overtime protections will be extended to the nation's two million home health care workers serving people with disabilities and the elderly starting in 2015, the Obama administration has announced.

The U.S. Department of Labor rule change updates a 1974 law that now treats home health care workers as "companions," denying them of protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The change is intended to address workers employed by agencies, rather than individual workers employed by families to provide "fellowship and protection" for persons with disabilities or the elderly.

“Direct care workers play a critical role in ensuring access to high-quality home care that many people need in order to remain healthy and independent in their communities, and they should be compensated fairly for this important work,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.

Direct care workers in 15 states already are protected under state minimum wage and overtime protections; another six states and the District of Columbia mandate state minimum wage protections.