Are Home Care Workers Entitled to at Least Minimum Wage?

Alden Wicker

home care minimum wageBelieve us, we were surprised, too.

Under the “companionship exemption” to the American Labor law, 2.5 million people who work in the home helping the elderly and disabled don’t have to be paid minimum wage. They also are excluded from receiving time-and-a-half for working overtime.

That was supposed to change. December of last year, Obama held a press conference along with several home care workers to announce the administration would extend minimum wage protections to them. A year later, however, nothing has changed–the plan is caught up in federal red tape. Ironically, the proposal was part of an economic plan called, “We Can’t Wait.”

Since that press conference a year ago, home workers’ wages have declined in several states, according to an open letter to the president from the same female workers who stood with him at the press conference.

“Home care remains one of our nations fastest-growing but lowest paid occupations,” the letter said. “Wages have long stagnated, and since December, have even declined in some states, forcing more workers and their families to rely on public assistance.” They say the industry turnover is as high as 60% because of poor working conditions. And high turnover costs home care companies money, since they have to retrain workers.

  • DAVD58

    I feel that even family home caregivers should be paid or receive some sort of benefit.  I’m 54, and I had to quit my job, and loose my health insurance in order to take care of my father who has Dementia.  He had to be removed from 2 Nursing Homes and 1 Senior Day Care facility, because of his actions concerning other patients, and his actions for his Dementia.  They were always calling my work, and I was going to loose my job.  I Lost it anyway, cause I had to keep him home.  I also have a disabled husband who has a spine problem as well as a heart problem, due to Agent Orange.  He can take care of himself, but not able to run after my father, when he slips out the door. So there wasn’t any choice. I have been out of work now for 1 year. I’m loosing money that I need to be applying to my Social Security for when I do retire. I have to go to Free Clinics.  I have high Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol. I have NO help from my siblings, or any family members, they say they have a life, and can’t fit in any time to help.  They never call either.  I haven’t talked to my brother in 23 years, and my other siblings in 12 years. They told me, if I took him in, I was on my own.  I guess they weren’t kidding!!!!!! I am alone! My husband and I have given up friends, together time, travels, go out to restaurants, being in public places, because of my fathers behavior.  When we were going out, we were asked to leave restaurants, and stores, because of my fathers behaviors.  CAREGIVERS give up their lives, for the life of someone else!

    • Quitwhining

      you feel like I- as a tax paying citizen- should have to bear the burden of
      your family issues by paying YOU to take care of YOUR own family.

      this is why our society is in such turmoil. Self-entitled people who feel like
      the world owns them something because of their hardship. It is called excuses!
      There is not reason that you cannot get some type of work from home job such as
      medical record billing or some other skill that allows you to care for your
      parent and make a living.

      addition, there are plenty of non-profit businesses out there to help if you
      simply look for them. I am just so tired of people thinking that
      their problems should be solved through the labors of others.

      resources are out there:
      1. Quit feeling sorry for yourself
      2. Open your eyes 
      3. Get off your ass and find solutions

  • DAVD58

    Well unregistered!  GOD forbid if YOU should have to take care of a family member!  I’d feel sorry for that person!  Who do you think you are to voice an OPINION, and not man up to even use a name! That really shows that you are sure of your response!  Even though I do not have to answer you with any diginity, I will, because if any one is sorry it should be you! It’s PEOPLE like you that slim is made of, and desroys people!  You must be one jerk to even work around, because you are a miserable person inside, and you make everyone else’s life miserable. I have tried ALL kinds of non-profits, and stay at home jobs.  Those do not give you health insurance, or much to live on.  I even do surveys, I’m on 27 survey panels!  My father even has a nurse that comes to the house, and she even TOLD me,  that  I can not go back to work!  His nurse told me that!  So why don’t you crawl back into the hole you crawled out of, and FART!!!!!!!!