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December 9, 2021

DOL Launches New Initiative to Ensure Homecare Workers’ Rights Are Protected

Did you know that November was National Home Care & Hospice Month? Every November, the home care and hospice community honors the country’s hardworking home health aides and homecare workers and, this year, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) has announced the start of a new initiative, ramping up education, outreach, and enforcement to ensure the rights of professional caregivers are protected.
Home » News » DOL Launches New Initiative to Ensure Homecare Workers’ Rights Are Protected

John Stewart
Thu, 12/09/2021

Did you know that November was National Home Care & Hospice Month? Every November, the home care and hospice community honors the country’s hardworking home health aides and homecare workers and, this year, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) has announced the start of a new initiative, ramping up education, outreach, and enforcement to ensure the rights of professional caregivers are protected.

As the DOL’s Acting Wage and Hour Administrator recently explained, “[p]rofessional caregivers have always been and continue to be some of our nation’s essential workers. We look to them to care for us and our families and they deserve our appreciation, respect and protection.” The DOL expects the new initiative will help to ensure the rights of home health aides and other direct care providers are protected and “employers who flout the law are held accountable.”

At McGillivary Steele Elkin LLP, this is a welcome announcement from the DOL, as we have been fighting to protect the overtime and fair pay for homecare workers for years. In our work we have found that homecare workers are often surprised to learn the extent of their employment rights under state or federal law and, importantly, the extent to which their employers have been violating those rights! For example, through our work with SEIU Local 1199, we learned that many, if not all of the District of Columbia Home Health Agencies providing home health services to Medicaid recipients in the District of Columbia may be violating the rights of their workers to mandatory pay required under the law (Read More Here). Common violations include:

  • failure to be paid a living wage in violation of state law;
  • failure to be paid minimum wage;
  • not being paid on a timely basis;
  • not being provided with paid sick leave;
  • not being paid the full overtime compensation due under state or federal law.

(Read More Here)

One particularly problematic issue for home health aides or other homecare workers is misclassification as “independent contractors” rather than employees. Claiming an employee is an independent contractor can be a convenient excuse for an employer seeking to avoid overtime or other employment laws, and as the DOL has recognized, it is a “serious problem” subject to several “pervasive myths.”

If you think your employer/agency may be violating your rights, please contact us to learn more about those rights. You can call us at 1-866-883-8860 or email us at info@mselaborlaw.com.

Legal Representation for All Workers

When McGillivary Steele Elkin LLP decides to take your case, it is because we believe there is an unacceptable workplace violation that has negatively impacted you or resulted in your employer paying less than what the law requires and which we have a reasonable chance of remedying. We recognize that meritorious claims should not go unremedied because of the level of a person’s resources.

To ensure accessible and available legal representation for all our clients, MSE handles cases through different forms of fee arrangements, including contingency fees, hourly fees and fixed fees.

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