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Big Business doesn't like new wage and hour protections for domestic workers. We aren't surprised.

Wait – Big Business doesn’t like domestic workers’ new wage and hour protections? Color us surprised! Not.

As expected, the Obama administration’s move to extend minimum wage and overtime pay to nearly 2 million in-home health aides is facing a backlash from businesses, the Hill’s Ben Goad reports.

Why? Apparently the new standards would stunt explosive growth in the home health sector, with increased costs likely to be passed along to consumers, according to industry groups. Worse – they say that the new protections come “to the detriment of small businesses, patient comfort, and worker wages.”

They actually said that workers’ wages would be negatively affected by requiring employers to pay domestic workers minimum wage and overtime. They warned that the Obama administration’s actions would force caregivers into an unregulated “underground” market to avoid the additional cost to employers.

Needless to say, we’re not buying it.

As ThinkProgress’ Bryce Covert explains, home care workers make very little and many struggle to get by.

“Home health and personal care aides make just $9.70 at the median, or $20,170 a year," Cover reports. "Many make too little to get by. In New York City, for example, 60 percent make poverty wages, with almost a third earning less than $15,000 a year. Nearly 40 percent of the workforce earns so little that they have to rely on public benefits to get by. One woman who has cared for a mentally disabled woman for ten years still makes just $8.87 an hour and works 199 hours every two weeks, giving her client around-the-clock care, without getting any overtime pay.”

The Obama administration’s move to grant wage and hour protections to domestic workers corrects a shortfall that had left more than 2 million workers vulnerable to abuse. We applaud last week’s action.

 

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