Victory for Home Care?
The recent article in the NYT suggested that home care workers had achieved a victory. The US Supreme Court refused to consider Home Care Association of America v. Weil. That case was the last attempt by a group of home care employers to uphold a prior ruling that home care workers are “companions”, and to avoid paying home care workers minimum wage and overtime pay.
Since 1975 the Department of Labor labeled home care workers as “companions” which allowed them to be paid less than other, comparable service workers.
Employment in Home Care
During the same period, employment of home care workers surged.
Accessing Needed Home Care
Also during the same period, access to home care, especially among the most vulnerable, has become more difficult.
Those who can afford private duty home care, and those with good private insurance coverage will only be impacted if the number of home care workers in particularly dense metropolitan market areas, like New York or Los Angeles declines significantly.
Employment Demand in Home Care
The projected demand for home care employees is enormous:
For profit agencies pay better and can compete more effectively for labor even though on balance the home care provided by for profit agencies is not as good as care provided by not-for-profits.
Certainly the increase wage is a short term boon to home care workers and their families, as these workers have seen a progressive deterioration of their real earnings:
However, my questions are:
- Will the increased wage slow employment and
- Will stable or declining employment decrease access?