August 25, 2015
By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel
A federal appeals court in Washington ruled Aug. 21 that almost 2 million home health-care workers are entitled to minimum wage and overtime pay. The unanimous decision by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals restored Labor Department regulations that extended those protections to workers employed by third-party staffing agencies.
It overturned a a lower-court ruling that federal law exempts home-care workers who are providing “companionship.” Service Employees International Union President Mary Kay Henry called the ruling “an enormous step forward for home workers and for our country.” “What the court recognized is that Congress intended this exemption to apply to people who do casual work, not people doing home care work as a full-time vocation or job,” said Peter Romer-Friedman, deputy director of litigation at the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs. Read more