Caregivers hired by an agency, under our current labor law, are classified as “companion care.” An employee that is classified as “companion care” is afforded no protection in terms of minimum wage and overtime pay. However, earlier this week, the Obama administration passed a law which extends the minimum wage and overtime protection to caregivers hired by agencies. This means that these home care associates will be required to be paid minimum wage and overtime, if accrued. Sadly, many for-profit home care agencies have protested this legislation as it will increase their labor expense and cut into profits.
When reading about this new piece of legislation, I am reminded why I am so proud to work at Seacrest at Home. One reason being that, from our first day of operation, we insisted that in order to obtain and retain the best home care associates, we must pay them not only minimum wage, but an hourly rate that is higher than the industry average. Without any deliberation, if one of our home care associates works more than 40 hours in a given week, they are given proper OT pay. Seacrest at Home does NOT need legislation to be passed in order for us to do the RIGHT thing. We applaud the passage of this legislation for caregivers and inevitably their clients will benefit. Unfortunately, it does not take into effect until January 2015. Therefore, it gives many home care agencies another 15 months to delay fair payment to their home care associates.
I believe Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez states it perfectly when describing the passing of this new law, “Today we are taking an important step toward guaranteeing that these professionals receive the wage protections they deserve while protecting the right of individuals to live at home.”
If you would like to read more about this subject, I have attached a link to the NYT article below.