Justice for Direct Care Workers

Sep 18, 2013

By Liz Ben-Ishai

Unfortunately, the workers we all depend on to keep us healthy and productive are often the ones afforded the least protection and compensation. But the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has finally taken steps towards remedying this pervasive injustice.

Direct care workers – workers who provide home care assistance to older adults and people with illnesses and disabilities – have long been excluded from minimum wage and overtime protections enjoyed by most other classes of workers. Yesterday, the DOL announced a final rule that will end the loophole that has denied these essential service providers fair treatment.

There are nearly two million direct care workers in the United States. Day after day, these men and women perform the often grueling personal care work that so many people depend on to keep them living at home and working. The need for direct care workers is growing rapidly. Beginning in 2011, 10,000 baby boomers began turning 65 every day. The aging population in the U.S. means that more and more of us will depend on the support and care of others to live comfortably in our communities.

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