California Caregivers Decry DC Circuit Court Decision’s Potential Effect on Caregivers Outside of California

California’s Recent Law Granting Overtime Pay Will Not Be Affected

(SACRAMENTO) California caregivers expressed disappointment today in the December 22 opinion and order by D.C. District Court Judge Richard J. Leon in Home Care Association of America v. Weil, which places limits on the Department of Labor’s order a year ago to include in-home caregivers in basic labor protections such as minimum wage and overtime rules.

Caregivers pointed out, however, that California’s recently passed law is not affected by the DC court’s opinion, since California passed language requiring overtime pay if any part of the federal order is implemented and federal matching funds are available.

“Our hearts go out to caregivers across the country whose dedication and compassion deserve better than second-class treatment,” said Joyce Hayashi, a Los Angeles caregiver. “Fortunately for those of us here in California, caregivers fought hard this year to make sure that we receive the respect and equal treatment we deserve – and we made sure to get that in writing.”

In 2014, California caregivers, seniors, women’s advocates, and people with disabilities united to fight for full implementation of the new overtime rule in California. Caregivers shared with legislators their life stories and circumstances and made a powerful case for equal treatment. As a result, California passed a strong law implementing the Obama Administration’s overtime rule.

The legislation implementing the agreement to provide overtime in California is SB 855, which states in Sec 76 subsection (l) (2) that, “ If the regulatory amendments described in paragraph (1) become only partially effective by the date specified in paragraph (1), this section shall become operative only for those persons for whom federal financial participation is available as of that date.”

“This ruling shows that the struggle for respect for caregiving as a profession will never be over until our society fully values the worth and dignity of the people who provide care and the people who receive it,” said Laphonza Butler, SEIU California and SEIU United Long-Term Care Workers (ULTCW) President.

SEIU expects the DOL to appeal the district court’s decision, and is hopeful that “live-in” home care workers across the country, not just in California, will eventually gain the benefit of our nation’s overtime laws.

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