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Before Obama’s Order, Current Overtime Regulations Worked Well For In-Home Care In Escondido and Elsewhere
Employees and clients alike who are involved in in-home care in Escondido and elsewhere know that it is unlike any other field. The nature of the work that caregivers do, the special relationships between caregivers, their clients, and their families, and the necessary flexibility that caregivers bring to their jobs are all factors that separate home health care even from other areas of the medical profession.
U.S.labor regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Labor have traditionally recognized the unique nature of caregiving, exempting it from overtime pay penalties. This exemption, rather than treating caregivers as “inferior” employees who do not deserve labor protection, actually gives them the liberty to adjust to meet the needs of each client. For example, a caregiver who chooses to stop at the grocery store on his way to a client’s home or who does some of a client’s laundry at his own home might not be able to do so if he or she were restricted to the same overtime penalties as other professions.
President Obama Has Ordered The Department Of Labor To Increase The Cost Of In-Home Care in Escondido And Elsewhere
Providers and consumers of in-home care in Escondido and elsewhere were stunned to learn that President Obama has ordered the Department of Labor to remove this sensible and long-standing overtime penalty exemption for caregivers. This change would make it illegal for caregivers to do extra work for clients unless they were paid overtime penalties for doing so.
Documenting in-home care work would be very complicated and would create a huge number of paperwork problems for not only the workers but also the home care businesses that employ them. In addition, an overtime penalty requirement would probably lead to individual clients having to receive sometimes very personal care services, such as assistance with bathing and toileting, from more caregivers, causing more disruption to care than they currently experience when only one or a few caregivers serve each client.
The one thing that everyone can be sure of is that in-home care workers will be hurt by the President’s order, because in the end their employers, the in-home care companies, will have to make them work fewer hours each week in order to avoid overtime penalties.
President’s Gift To Organized Labor Comes At A Cost To Seniors and Caregivers Alike
Most experts in in-home care in Escondido and elsewhere see this move by President Obama as either a misguided attempt to reform an area of labor law that does not need to be reformed, or a political gift to organized labor and the far left at the expense of the frail and elderly and caregivers, or both.
The stated concerns driving President Obama’s effort are that, if not protected under minimum wage and overtime laws, caregivers could be overwhelmed by the quickly increasing number of elderly clients that need assistance at home. However, caregiving is very complex, and a simple solution like confining home care companies to the same overtime penalty requirements as other industries will backfire by making it more difficult for them to serve their clients effectively. Hopefully, more research and consultation with those who know the caregiving field best will take place before any important decisions are finalized.