Federal court rules in favor of overtime pay for homecare workers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, August 21, 2015

California homecare workers cheer today’s ruling that upholds Fair Labor Standard Act protections for
in-home caregivers

Sacramento — Today a Federal Appeals Court ruled in favor of homecare providers and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), reversing a lower court’s decision from earlier this year that halted the implementation of overtime pay and other labor protections for in-home caregivers.

Advocates called this a tremendous victory for hundreds of thousands of homecare workers in California, who have been denied equal rights on the job for decades—including the right to pay for travel time, overtime and wait time while at clients’ doctor appointments.

“Homecare workers have been denied dignity and equal rights for far too long,” said Doug Moore, executive director of UDW/AFSCME Local 3930. “We call on the Brown administration to implement the new rules immediately without reducing any hours of support for clients, and to implement the rules retroactively to January 1, 2015 when they were originally supposed to take effect.”

“This ruling brings justice to the homecare workers who provide quality care to California’s seniors and people with disabilities,” added Moore. “Today the court recognized that homecare workers, who are predominantly women and people of color, deserve the same rights as all workers.”

In 2013, the DOL issued new rules that extended overtime pay, minimum wage and other protections to homecare workers for the first time in history. Homecare workers were previously excluded from these FLSA protections for over 75 years under the so-called “companionship exemption.”

However, on the eve of the new rules going into effect on January 1, 2015, District Court Judge Richard Leon halted the new rules as part of a lawsuit brought by homecare agencies. Soon after, Governor Jerry Brown announced that California would not move forward with paying homecare workers in the state’s In-Home Supportive Services program (IHSS) for overtime, despite the fact that funding was allocated for this purpose in the 2014-2015 budget.

Since this announcement, IHSS providers and their unions have been campaigning to restore the overtime and other pay that was promised to workers. Thousands of families have been denied much-needed income since January as a result of the new rules not going into effect.

“We want to be treated as equals,” said Terry Walker-Dampier, a homecare worker from Modesto who cares for two clients with disabilities. “The new rules mean almost $300 more a month for my family, and it means that homecare is being recognized as real work.”

Today’s court ruling can be found here: http://www.cadc.uscourts.gov/internet/opinions.nsf/4F1B05FAF98FCC6E85257EA8004E9BD0/$file/15-5018-1569088.pdf

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United Domestic Workers of America (UDW)/AFSCME Local 3930 is a homecare union made up of over 86,000 in-home caregivers across the state of California. UDW caregivers provide care through the state’s In-Home Supportive Services program (IHSS), which allows over half a million California seniors and people with disabilities to stay safe and healthy at home.

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Paid for by United Domestic Workers of America Action Fund, sponsored by United Domestic Workers of America. Not authorized by a candidate or a committee controlled by a candidate.

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