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DOL Economist Urges Fair Pay for Home Care Workers

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DOL Economist Urges Fair Pay for Home Care Workers

July 19, 2012

In a Department of Labor blog post, DOL Chief Economist Adriana Kugler advocates extending minimum-wage and overtime protections to home care workers. Kugler notes that there are currently nearly two million workers employed in the home care industry.

The Fair Labor Standards Act, which provides wage protections for most of the working population, carves out narrow exceptions for some segments, including casual babysitters and in-home companions for individuals with disabilities and seniors.

Last winter, DOL proposed updates to the regulations that would ensure minimum wage and overtime protections to most in-home care workers. (Fifteen states already provide minimum standards for in-home care workers.)

Kugler advocates adopting the federal regulations because the economic impact would be minimal while, long-term, it has the potential to create good jobs for more workers by professionalizing this workforce, resulting in better care for individuals and a lesser burden on taxpayers who subsidize workers with public assistance to compensate for gaps in wages paid.