Friday, June 29, 2012

Home Care Workers should have Wage Protection too

Tell Your Senator: Don't Prevent Home Health Workers from Earning Minimum Wage

In December of 2011, the Obama administration announced that it was proposing updates to regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act that would ensure minimum wage and overtime protections to in-home care workers. More information about the proposed changes is available from the Department of Labor. Office of Public Witness Director, Rev. J. Herbert Nelson, submitted comments to the Department of Labor in support of this proposed regulation:

In light of our theological understanding of vocation and stewardship, and of the inherent value of work, we believe that all persons deserve the opportunity and have a responsibility to productive work at a fair wage.  This proposed rule will serve the common good by making working and living situations that much better for a segment of the population.  As our neighbors rise, so do we all.  Emphasizing the common good has clear implications for improving the economic security of older adults and for the workers who care for them.  We strongly support this proposed policy, which will improve the quality of care for people living with age-related and other disabilities, and the quality of the jobs of those who provide that care.

While this proposed change was intended to respond to the changing nature of the growing in-home care industry, some in Congress are working to prevent home health workers from accessing basic minimum wage and overtime protections. Tell your Senator today that home health workers deserve a living wage.

With respect to home care workers, in 2001, the Presbyterian General Assembly, "encourage[d] the church to be diligent in its covenant responsibility to its older members and their caregivers, advocating for living wages for all in this important industry." And in 2006, the General Assembly approved Economic Security for Older Adults, in which it advocated a system that "provide[s] workers in the formal, long-term care system decent wages, benefits, and working conditions." Home care workers provide skilled care for their patients and clients. They are much more than sitters and companions. Take action today to ensure that they get the wages they deserve.

This graphic outlines some statistics about home health care workers in this county. The facts are clear: home health workers deserve a living wage. Don't let Congress prevent them from earning one.