Homecare workers have new rights starting today – thanks to the hard work of the Direct Care Alliance, NDWA and many worker groups across the country. We have a webpage with Know Your Rights materials in English, Spanish, Tagalog and Polish, as well as sample timesheets. Can you share this resource with your friends?
Archive for ‘Minimum wage and overtime for home care workers’
“The people that take care of me deserve a living wage,” says home care recipient Kyle Auxier.
How well a home care worker is treated has depended entirely on the employer. Now, that’s finally changing.
Award-winning home health aide Joe Quinn on how home care workers go above and beyond for their clients.
Nearly three-quarters of direct care workers are forced to rush through basic care for the elderly and disabled, survey finds.
Ai-jen Poo on why it is essential that we pay home care workers enough to support their families. Continue reading »
The following photos and stories are from the Voices Institute graduates, several of whom were also DCA board members, who represented Direct Care Alliance and their profession at the Home Care Workers Rising summit. The summit was hosted by Caring Across Generations in St. Louis on October 6 and 7.
It Rekindled the Fight in Me
I was fortunate to be invited to the Home Care Workers Rising summit by the Direct Care Alliance board of directors. The summit brought together members of the SEIU, AFSCME, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Jobs with Justice, Hand in Hand, Caring Across Generations, and Jews for Racial and Economic Justice to spark and rekindle the Home Care Worker fight for a job that is respected, pays a living wage, includes benefits and paid time off. We were home care workers and consumers, all sharing and learning what each other were doing in the fight to improve home care jobs. Continue reading »
Maine needs to increase reimbursement rates and give us direct care workers a raise, says Helen Hanson in a Bangor Daily News editorial.
How negative public attitudes toward direct care work can damage workers’ morale and self-image.
Not just anyone can do direct care work, says a striking worker: “It takes a very long time to understand how to work with very complex people with very complex needs.”
A strong op-ed on what’s wrong with Britain’s “zero-hour” home care contracts, which offer workers no protection and no guaranteed hours.
With a statewide average wage of $8.60 an hour, home care workers in Missouri are calling for higher wages.
An ethics instructor considers what fair pay for home care workers would look like—and why we need to make it happen.
Professors Lisa Dodson and Nancy Folbre on why the Supreme Court’s Harris v. Quinn decision will hurt home care consumers.
A new rule proposed by the U.S. Department of Labor would raise the minimum wage for VA hospital CNAs and other federal contractors to $10.10 an hour.
Another excellent editorial from the New York Times on why U.S. Department of Labor must resist pressure to delay implementing the minimum wage and overtime rule for home care workers.
Home care worker Maureen Lewis on why we must improve the lives of the next generation by improving wages for direct care workers. Continue reading »
A new rule proposed by US DOL would raise the minimum wage for VA hospital CNAs and other federal contractors to $10.10 an hour.
Another excellent New York Times editorial on why U.S. Department of Labor must resist pressure to delay implementing the minimum wage and overtime rule for home care workers.
Dear Friend of DCA,
With your support, Direct Care Alliance has been the national advocacy voice of direct care workers for almost ten years. We can all be proud of what we have accomplished together.
Inspired by the vision of former Executive Director Leonila Vega, we built a nationwide advocacy network of direct care workers through the Voices Institute and other means. These worker leaders are eloquent about the value of their work and have a passion for improving our system of long-term services and supports.
We influenced legislation and regulation, taking important steps at the state and federal level to improve the health and economic security of direct care workers, invest in the workforce and enhance training and advancement opportunities. A key recent victory was the final home care rule extending basic labor protections–including federal minimum wage and overtime pay–to home care workers nationwide.
We developed a national credentialing program that is an important step toward building recognition of personal care work. We assisted many direct care workers in finding health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. We also provided technical and financial assistance to direct care worker state associations.
Unfortunately, the world has changed, and our income has decreased every year. The board has grappled with this over the years, trying to trim costs while maintaining services and supports for workers, but we don’t have enough funding to continue operating. We regretfully inform you that DCA staff operations will cease and our offices in Washington, DC and New York will close by June 30. Continue reading »
Punitive managers and overreliance on rigid rules foster bad patterns of interaction in nursing homes, harming resident care and staff satisfaction—but there are methods managers can use to encourage positive interactions between staff.
Delay the minimum wage and overtime rule for home care workers even longer? Home care workers deserve better, and so do consumers.
Watch Respect: The Joy of Aides, a wonderful 20-minute documentary by Eva Sweeney, a woman with CP, about how to hire and manage aides and what it’s like when a direct care worker and a client work well together.
Good news for home care worker wages: a 5% pay raise in Minnesota, home care workers fighting for fair wages all across America, and rallies in Cleveland and Boston, where home care workers are calling for a $15 minimum wage for their profession. Continue reading »
The New York Times on why we must not delay implementation of the new rule extending minimum wage and overtime pay to home care workers.
Read about the awesome recipients of ANCOR’s 2014 Direct Support Professionals Award.
Former home health aides bring valuable perspective to the job when they transition into nursing, says home care agency president Marki Flannery.
Check out and contribute to the new TalkPoverty.org website, an opportunity for direct care workers and other advocates to tell their stories and share solutions.
An Older Americans Month toolkit from Eldercare Workforce Alliance helps journalists and other stakeholders find publications, programs, and personal stories that focus on the health and safety of older Americans from EWA member organizations—including DCA.
“Home care services are among the most important work there is, and if we want it to be done well, dedicated home care workers should be compensated at a level that reflects their commitment and skills,” says an editorial in Maine’s Portland Press-Herald.
Vermont home care workers have reached a tentative agreement with the state that includes significant raises and an annual cost-of-living adjustment.
An excellent new publication from Center for Law and Social Policy explains a crucial but often overlooked part of compensation: direct care workers and other low-income workers are far less likely to get paid leave than higher-wage workers. The brief describes recent and pending laws and policies aimed at leveling the paid time off playing field.
Want to know how to find and keep good direct care workers? Higher pay attracts talented staff, this study finds, but that alone is not enough. To keep them, you also need good working conditions. Continue reading »
Equal pay for women is an important issue for direct care workers–and not just because 90% of all direct care workers are women. Like teaching, child care and other forms of “care work,” direct care is a traditionally female profession that pays less than it should because it has been pigeonholed–and devalued–as “women’s work.” And even within the profession, female direct care workers earn less than male workers on average.
Here are highlights from the chat.
Watch HBO’s Paycheck to Paycheck, the story of CNA and single mother Katrina Gilbert, free of charge on the Shriver Report website.
A brief on the problems caused by unstable work schedules–like those of home care workers–and policy approaches that would help.
A New York Times feature about the challenges of raising a family on under $10.10 an hour features Erika McCurdy, a nurse’s aide in Tennessee.
Unions and the state of California are battling over the right to overtime pay for IHSS home care workers.
The executive director of an ARC in New York state urged the legislature to include a 3 percent raise for direct service staff, saying low wages make recruitment and retention difficult.
More progress on paid sick days: New York’s mayor has signed a measure that will extend paid sick days to 1.3 million more New Yorkers as of April 1 and a National Partnership for Women & Families fact sheet presents evidence of the economic benefits of paid sick days from the four jurisdictions with the longest-running laws: San Francisco, Washington, DC, Connecticut and Seattle.
“While the extension of minimum wage and overtime protections to homecare workers was a great win, a tremendous amount of advocacy is needed to maintain it,” write Direct Care Alliance (DCA) Executive Director Carla Washington and National Advocacy Director Jessica Brill Ortiz in the January-February issue of Aging Today, the bimonthly newspaper of the American Society on Aging. “We continue to work with our allies to ensure that the regulations are not derailed by Congress. We are also working to ensure that workers, consumers, employers and other stakeholders nationwide understand what the rule means for them—and why it is a victory for us all.”
Their article, Recent Victory for Homecare Workers is a Win for Advocates, outlines why home care workers were excluded from federal Fair Labor Standards Act protections and how DCA and its allies have worked to undo that longstanding injustice.
Fifty years into the war on poverty, it’s time to focus on direct care workers, explains DCA’s Jessica Brill Ortiz in the Huffington Post.
“As we work to advance the goals of the war on poverty, improving the economic security of direct care workers and their families should be at the top of the list, because improving direct care workers’ wages, benefits and career advancement opportunities will let us accomplish three important goals,” writes Jessica in The New Face of Our Economy. “We can help ensure a stable, qualified direct care workforce large enough to meet growing demand. We can transform one of our fastest-growing job categories so that it bolsters our middle class and strengthens our economy instead of swelling the ranks of the working poor. And we can deliver on the promise of a nation where hard work is rewarded and respected.
Her piece outlines several current and pending policy initiatives that will help accomplish those goals.
A hearing held this morning on the new home care rule by the U.S. House Education & the Workforce’s Subcommittee on Workforce Protections misrepresented a victory of great importance to the nation’s fastest growing workforce and the millions of elders and people with disabilities who rely on it.
As reflected by its title–Redefining Companion Care: Jeopardizing Access to Affordable Care for Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities–the hearing incorrectly framed the winning of basic labor protections by home care workers as a threat to those who rely on their services. In fact, the rule will benefit consumers by helping to stabilize the workforce they depend on.
We anticipate that this is just the beginning of a concerted push to urge Congress to disapprove the home care rule. The unusually long delay between the day it was issued (September 17, 2013) and when it becomes effective (January 1, 2015) gives opponents more than a year to try to whip up opposition to the rule.
We must not let opposition overturn this hard won and long-overdue victory for home care workers–and us all. DCA and our allies are working hard to ensure that the rule is not derailed by Congress and is implemented properly. Continue reading »
David read this poem during a conference call hosted by DCA on October 28 to celebrate the final rule that extends Fair Labor Standards Act protections to home care workers.
I have helped you bathe and helped you eat.
I have helped you take your meds and get back on your feet.
I have taken your vital signs and listened to your stories.
I have made it possible for you to stay in your home.
I have seen you confused, aged, injured and ill
And I helped you through your day with dignity.
And if not you — your mother, brother, neighbor or lover.
For all of us need a helping hand some day. Continue reading »
The first time I contacted Direct Care Alliance was after I was told by my employer that I would be accompanying him on the road for trips that lasted several days and would be paid for only 12 hours a day of my time. My immediate thought was: I will contact the Department of Labor (DOL) and they will take care of it.
But when I contacted DOL, I learned that they could not help because we home care workers were shut out of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) under the companionship exemption. I searched online to find a way to stand up for myself and my fellow workers, who put in long hard hours doing skilled tasks only to be mischaracterized as companions or elder sitters.
I found DCA during my search. Continue reading »
Today in Washington, D.C., DCA joined with allies from AFSCME, AFL-CIO, Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice, Caring Across Generations, Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers Association, the Institute for Policy Studies, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, NCLR,the National Employment Law Proiect, PHI and SEIU to celebrate home care workers and the rule that will give them minimum wage and overtime protections. This is the toast I gave there, on behalf of DCA.
I would like to thank President Obama, Secretary Perez and the Department of Labor for meeting with and listening to the people who do this work every day and the people we serve.
I remember when I stood with President Obama as he announced the proposed rule in December of 2011. I was proud to hear him speak about my profession with such respect. That night I felt like I could fly back to Wisconsin without boarding the plane. I had the same feeling last week when the final rule was announced. Thank you again! Continue reading »
Home care workers across the country are celebrating a major victory: After nearly 40 years of exclusion, they are finally guaranteed basic labor protections under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Long-awaited regulations from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) were finalized today, extending FLSA protections–including a guarantee of minimum wage and overtime pay–to home care workers nationwide.
“It’s been more than a year since I stood on the stage with President Obama as he announced the proposed regulations, and we were advocating for this change for a long time before that–but we’ve finally won!” says home care worker and Direct Care Alliance (DCA) Board Chair Tracy Dudzinski. “I’ve always said our work is expected but not respected. These regulations prove that our voices are starting to be heard.” Continue reading »