Home Health Care Workers Get a Wage Safety Net

It’s often said the executive branch has little power to do anything about economic inequality or conditions of life for the working poor. That wasn’t true today, when the Labor Department reclassified roughly two million home health care workers as no longer exempt from minimum wage and overtime laws. Here’s Wonkblog‘s Sarah Kliff with more:

Right now, the average wage for a home health worker is $9.70 an hour, which is above the minimum wage of $7.25, meaning that there is a significant number already earning above the wage threshold. For these workers, the overtime protections could be especially relevant.

The federal government estimates that 90 percent of home health workers are female and that 50 percent are minorities. As the population ages, the home health industry is expected to grow rapidly, expanding by 69 percent between 2010 and 2020.

It also means another two million workers would benefit from a higher minimum wage, if we can see about making that happen sometime soon.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.