By Mike Lillis
Sen. Robert Casey (D-Pa.) next week will introduce legislation to extend employee wage protections to home care workers.
The news comes just one day after Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) unveiled a proposal to provide minimum wage and overtime rights to home care workers, a subset of the direct care workforce that's currently excluded from labor protections granted most other employees.
Supporters of the legislation say it would end the decades-old discrimination against home care workers, who provide health and other domestic services to sick and elderly folks — services that often allow those patients to stay out of nursing homes.
The Casey bill, expected to be released Monday, is identical to the Sanchez bill, his office said Thursday.
On top of extending wage protections to home care workers, the proposals would also compile national wage and employment data on direct care workers, and provide $125 million for states to recruit, retain and train those employees.
The Department of Labor is eyeing similar reforms. The agency said this week that it would propose new rules home care workers in October 2011.