Home-Care Workers Win Right to Get Overtime Pay, Minimum Wage

Home-care workers won the right to overtime pay and the minimum wage after a U.S. court Friday upheld a Labor Department rule that was challenged by business groups.

The Obama administration said the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia covers almost 2 million workers “whose demanding work merits these fundamental wage guarantees.”

The rule helps ensure a “stable and professional workforce” for recipients of the services, according to a statement Friday from the Labor Department.

“We are thrilled that this historic ruling will remedy an injustice millions of dedicated, hardworking caregivers have had to tolerate for far too long,” said Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project.

A lower court had ruled that the Labor Department exceeded its authority in extending the wage protections. The rule was opposed by the Washington-based U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has said it would make home-health care too expensive for some.

Congress extended benefits to domestic workers when it amended the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1974. The measure included a narrow exemption for babysitters and workers who provide “companionship” services that the Labor Department later interpreted to include direct-care workers.

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