By Mike Lillis
The Department of Labor (DoL) said this week that it will be 15 months before the agency proposes changes to the pay rules for home care workers, who currently aren't covered by the minimum wage and overtime protections granted most employees.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides wage protections for most direct care workers, but the DoL has exempted home care workers, whom it considers "companions" not eligible for the law's pay rules.
In April, DoL announced its intention to update the companionship language "in light of the changed nature of the employment relationship for the majority of the companions to the aged and infirm, the increased formalization of this sector of the labor market, and to reflect the secretary's strategic objectives."
The agency said Wednesday that it will issue its proposed update in October 2011.
Meanwhile, Rep. Linda Sanchez wants to make the change legislatively. The California Democrat on Wednesday introduced legislation to eliminate the FLSA exclusion of home care workers. The change, she told reporters, should be solidified in law, not left to the whims of any one administration.