Home Health Providers Fight Minimum Wage Rule
USA Today published an article on Obama’s Proposal to ensure home care agencies pay minimum wage. http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/story/2012-02-15/home-health-care-minimum-wage/53110228/1
Here is an analysis of the article from Joe Hafkenschiel, CAHSAH’s President.
This article does not present a very balanced picture of the issue. First, it is not about minimum wage for home health workers. The federal companion regulation is an exception to the general rule to pay minimum wage and overtime for workers who are serving as companions to the elderly and disabled. By the nature of the work, the worker must often work more than 8 hours per day. The regulation provides a balance between paying the worker a living wage and keeping the care affordable for the client. In California, which requires all workers to be paid the minimum wage of $8 per hour, a live-in companion working 24 hours is paid between $128 and $192 per day. If the exemption is eliminated, that same worker would have to be paid $304 per day resulting in a charge to the client of $500 to $600 per day. Home care would no longer be less expensive than assisted living or a nursing home and many people would be institutionalized. Most importantly, the workers would not benefit. Their shifts would be reduced to 8 hours to avoid overtime (which most clients cannot afford) and their pay would fall to $64 per day. The Department of Labor has done a very poor analysis of this proposal and we should all be wary of the unintended consequences.