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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez’s statement on Supreme Court denying challenge to minimum wage, overtime protections for home care workers
WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez today issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to hear a challenge to the department’s Home Care Final Rule:
“The U.S. Department of Labor’s Home Care Final Rule is vital to the nearly two million workers who provide home care services to our loved ones who wish to remain in their homes and communities.
“Until this rule, this growing and increasingly important group of workers who provide compassionate and competent care to our aging parents and to family members with disabilities were left out of the American promise of a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work. It undermines America’s basic bargain when an estimated 40 percent of home care workers rely on public assistance to make ends meet. These are dedicated and skilled workers, and they deserve to be paid as such.
“In 2011, in keeping with our statutory authority, we began a process to update the rules and provide home care workers with the same minimum wage and overtime protections enjoyed by most workers in the country, including those who perform the same duties in nursing homes. We did so in a transparent manner, consistent with the requirements of the federal rulemaking process, accepting and carefully considering public comments. The Home Care Final Rule is legally sound, and it was the right thing to do.
“Today’s decision by the court not to review a challenge to the Final Rule ensures that the rule can fulfill President Obama’s vision of an economy where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded. That will mean greater economic stability for so many hard-working people. For everything they do for our families, they deserve – and now they will get – a fair shot at being able to take care of their own. The final rule will also mean a more stable and professional home care workforce, benefitting consumers of these services and better meeting the needs of an aging population.
“We have worked closely with a wide range of stakeholders, including state officials, providers of home care services, advocates representing people with disabilities and worker advocates, to encourage thoughtful implementation of the rule. We have two goals: extending basic labor protections to home care workers; and ensuring that Medicaid participants and their families enjoy continued access to the home and community-based services they need, particularly services delivered through innovative models of care.
“We continue to stand ready to provide all stakeholders with the technical assistance necessary to help them comply with the rule.”