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California Rep. Sánchez Introduces the Direct Care Workforce Empowerment Act

July 30, 2010

In yesterday's blog, our Anaheim, California employment attorneys discussed California Representative Linda Sánchez's (D-CA) campaign to eliminate the FLSA exclusion of home care workers by introducing the Direct Care Workforce Empowerment Act into the House of Representatives this week.

According to Sánchez, direct home care workers have never received employment protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the act that provides workers access to minimum wage and overtime pay. Sánchez believes that all hard-working Americans should be treated equally, and by introducing this act, Sánchez hopes to correct the current injustice for vulnerable home care workers, and at the same time to help improve home care services for disabled people and seniors.

Last year, Representative Sánchez, who is co-chair of the Congressional Labor and Working Families Caucus, urged Hilda Solis, U.S. Secretary of Labor, to amend the FLSA regulations so that direct care workers could be eligible to receive minimum wage and overtime payment benefits. The DOL, as we reported yesterday, included the issue on the a regulatory list of items to address, yet has not formed a new rule.

Sánchez claims that direct-care workers are one of the largest workforces in the nation, and are quickly expanding, acting as a prominent role in economic growth and the creation of jobs. The act would reportedly ensure that these workers are rewarded for their hard work, as other working Americans are.

Under the Direct Care Workforce Empowerment Act:

• Home workers would receive the federal minimum wage and overtime protections mandated by the Fair Labor Standards Act

• The collection of State and Federal data, as well as oversight for home and direct-care workers would be improved.

• The act would create a grant program that would help to improve state recruitment, training, and retention for direct care workers--making direct care a career that is viable.

Rep. Sánchez states that it is time that these workers are compensated enough to be able to take care of their families. According to Leonila Vega, the Direct Care Alliance Executive Director, the Direct Care Workforce Empowerment Act will both strengthen this nation's workforce, and improve the quality of life for more than 27 million people in this country, who are expected to need long-term care by the year 2050.

Extend Labor Laws to Home Workers: Rep. Linda Sánchez Introduces Bill to Entitle Workers to Minimum Wage and Overtime Pay, Congresswoman Linda Sánchez Press Release, July 2010

US Department of Labor: Spring Regulatory Agenda 2010, US Department of Labor: Wage and Hour Division

Related Web Resources:

U.S. Department of Labor: Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

Department of Labor (DOL): Wage and Hour Division (WHD)