Disability Advocates Fight New Pay Rules for In Home Care Providers

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Disability Advocates Fight New Pay Rules for In Home Care ProvidersWhile the Obama Administration made it clear for some time that it wanted to ensure that all workers are protected by labor regulations regarding wages, overtime pay, and certain benefits, in home care providers had long been left out of those protections.

When the Labor Department instituted new regulations last year to ensure that these in home care workers received the same protections as other workers, there were numerous groups and organizations that were fighting against its implementation. Many home health care agencies and companies across the country claimed that by raising wages, adding overtime pay, and other expenses, they were going to have to cut the number of hours that their home care aides and other workers would spend with patients.

They claimed that this was going to have a direct and negative impact on the quality of care that patients received. Now, it’s more than just some Republicans in Washington D.C. and home health care organizations that are raising their concerns. Some disability advocates are critical of the Obama Administration and its focus on raising wages for these workers, many of whom are family members caring for loved ones.

They claim that they support the raising of wages and getting these in home care workers the same rights to overtime pay that other workers are entitled to, but at the same time are concerned that there are no provisions set in place for the government to increase spending to help cover the costs.

Several groups, including the Center for Disability Rights and the grass-roots organization Adapt, joined Senate Republicans in urging the Labor Department to suspend the new pay rule. “We support the right of workers to be paid fair wages,” says Bruce Darling, an organizer with Adapt, which held a protest outside the home of Labor Secretary Tom Perez. “To pay those wages, people with disabilities are going to lose their freedom.” (Bloomberg Businessweek)”

Republicans were successful in pushing for a delay in implementing the new rule, but only by six months. They claim that the mere fact that the rule’s implementation has to be delayed at all is an indication that it is problematic at its foundation.

Some advocates state that hiring more home care aides is one way to combat overtime pay regulations, but then this weakens ‘the relationships between aides and the people they take care of,’ according to Bruce Darling, an organizer with Adapt, which is a grass roots organization dedicated to improving disability rights.

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