Judy Conti, a lobbyist with the National Employment Law Project (NELP), an advocacy group, said the Sanchez bill will take long steps to “eradicate the reality of the working poor.”
“They care for our most vulnerable people,” Conti said at the unveiling. “They should not be the most vulnerable members of the workforce.”
Aside from extending FLSA protections to home care workers, the Sanchez proposal would also compile national wage and employment data on direct care workers, and provide grants to states for recruitment, retention and training of those workers.
The state grants would total $125 million over five years, but an estimate on the overall bill has yet to emerge.
Some Senate Democrats also have an FLSA expansion on their radar. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) is eyeing legislation, his office indicated this week. Casey will chair a Pennsylvania field hearing of the Senate Special Committee on Aging on Monday, when the issue could surface, a spokesman said.
Meanwhile, the Department of Labor has said it will address the “companionship” rules through new regulations. The agency intends to issue a proposed rule on that topic in October 2011, a spokesperson said Wednesday.
Sanchez, however, indicated she’ll still be pushing for a legislative change. She said this week that the issue is too important to be subject to the whims of any one administration.
—This piece was updated at 5:05 p.m.