By Vincent White
Vincent White is a partner at White, Ricotta & Marks, P.C., a boutique law firm in Queens, NY. The firm focuses specifically on employment law. It handles a variety of discrimination issues in the workplace, including wage, age, gender, sexual orientation, and several others. Contact them at www.queensemploymentattorney.com – Howard
The home health care industry is supported by the tireless workers who aid those in need. These employees, however, have not been in turn taken care of with a living wage. This injustice will soon be ending thanks to President Obama approving legislation aimed at closing this gap. The new legislation, which home health care workers rights groups have been fighting for, will give these workers overtime pay and a minimum wage. This improvement will affect all home health care workers who assist with necessities like eating, medications, etc. (more than just companionship).
This has been a long and arduous road for the workers and associated rights groups. There has been a battle for this change for years. Even though it has now been approved, the people impacted wait with baited breath to see the fruits of their labor. The new coverage is set to start in 2015. While, to the casual observer, this may seem like a long time for the new legislation to take effect (minimum wage changes usually take effect within six months), the government decided to take more time to start the new legislation to give everyone time to acclimate to the change and to be sure that businesses have adequate time to adjust for the change.
Even with extra time, many of the major businesses in this field are not only unhappy with the changes but are pushing for the new changes to be scrapped before they ever even take effect. The argument coming from these corporations is how these new changes will affect the rates that families have to pay for care for their elderly loved ones. These complaints come after studies have shown that the financial “burden placed on these corporations who would then pass along the rate change is less than half of one percent.” With such a small increase to provide necessary benefits to the workers it is obvious that the “negatives” here are far outweighed by the positives.
Rights organizations are expecting this increase in pay to be a strong boost to the future workforce in home health care. With the baby boomer generation aging, many are predicting that there will be far more elderly than those to care for them with the current rate of pay and benefits. Now that those who care for others can rest assured that they are being taken care of by their employers as well, it is expected that more people will choose to join this growing industry. One thing is sure; there will be more elderly in need of care than any other time in the history of our country. The legislation at hand is making important gains in having the necessary support in place for those who will continue to help our aging population.
Howard Lipset, CPA
Progressive Management, Inc.