Home-Care Providers Gain, But at What Cost?
Nearly 2 million workers in the home-healthcare industry now are covered by minimum-wage and overtime rules, after the U.S. Labor Department this week handed down new requirements.
Labor Secretary Tom Perez called the change long overdue for “skilled, capable and very well-trained” workers in the industry. “Today’s home-care workers are lumped into the same category as teenage baby sitters when it comes to how much they make. This is wrong, and this is unfair.”
Emma Dickison, president of Home Helpers, a franchisor of home health services, was one of many industry execs who had lobbied heavily against the changes, especially about overtime.
Her company, like many in the industry, already pays well above minimum wage in order to compete, she told Franchise Times late last year. But the overtime mandate from the federal government will ultimately hit the customer. “It’s not a major threat, but it will have an impact. It will be on the backs of the clients,” she said, because companies will pass the costs along.
Jeff Salter, founder and CEO of Caring Senior Service, had argued along the same lines. “There’s a huge economic impact on the actual caregivers in this,” Salter said, because many workers depend on “five or more 12-hour shifts” to make ends meet. Providers will likely limit hours for workers rather than pay overtime.
The new rules take effect on Jan 1, 2015.