Long-Delayed Caregiver Wage Protections To Take Effect
The U.S. Supreme Court has paved the way for an Obama administration rule mandating minimum wage and overtime for in-home caregivers assisting those with disabilities to be implemented.
Chief Justice John Roberts issued an order Tuesday denying a request from industry groups who sought to delay the new rule.
Under the 2013 rule from the U.S. Department of Labor, most home care workers must be paid at least the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour and earn time-and-a-half for working more than 40 hours per week.
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Previously, under a law dating to the 1970s, caregivers were classified similarly to baby sitters and were not entitled to the same rights as other types of employees.
Trade groups representing agencies that employ many home care workers sued over the changes arguing that the pay hike would make such care unaffordable.
Initially, the new requirements were set to take effect in January, but they were put on hold when a federal judge ruled that the Labor Department had overstepped its authority. On appeal, however, a three-judge panel sided with the Obama administration.
Last month, the groups challenging the rule asked the Supreme Court to postpone implementation of the changes so that they could further appeal the decision. With Roberts’ order Tuesday, however, the rule is set to take effect Oct. 13.
“We are pleased with today’s order,” U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez said late Tuesday. “The final rule is not only legally sound; it was the right thing to do. It will ensure fair wages for the nearly 2 million home care workers who provide critical services, and it will help ensure a stable and professional workforce for people who need those services.”
The Labor Department said it will not begin enforcement of the new rule until Nov. 12 and will use “prosecutorial discretion” through the end of the year to assess whether to bring enforcement actions based on how much effort states and other relevant entities have put toward ensuring compliance.