Some good news that literally affects millions of workers.
The U.S. Department of Labor extended minimum wage and overtime benefits to the mostly female and minority workforce of nearly 2 million home health-care workers in a ruling issued today.Bloomberg News: Obama Extends Minimum Wage to 2 Million Home Health Aides
The Fair Labor Standards Act will be extended to direct care workers, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez said today on a conference call with reporters. Those affected by the rule will receive the same protections as people providing similar services in hospitals and nursing homes, effective Jan. 1, 2015.
“Home-care workers are no longer treated like teenage babysitters providing casual services under this rule,” Perez said. “A fair wage will further stabilize and professionalize this critical line of work.”
Workers covered by the rule are predominantly women in their mid-forties or older or minorities, the Labor Department said.
It mattered deeply today that President Barack Obama was re-elected. This is why I continue to vote for Democrats. Many people will have a llittle extra in their paychecks because of this.
Update I: More from the Maddow Blog
Update II: This also extends overtime protections to the home health care workers.In an unusual move, the administration said the new regulation would not take effect until Jan. 1, 2015, even though regulations often take effect 60 days after being issued. The delay until 2015 is to give families that use these attendants, as well as state Medicaid programs, time to prepare for the new rule.It's a hole in labor law that's often overlooked -- home care workers have been exempt for decades from federal wage requirements
The administration first announced the proposed change nearly two years ago, at which point a spirited debate unfolded, with congressional Republicans and the for-profit home care agencies lobbying aggressively against the change.
The Obama administration obviously disagreed. "What kind of a society are we, what kind of values do we stand for -- unless we ensure that those administering that care receive basic workplace protections under the law?" Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said in a statement.