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HR Roundup: Hospital Layoffs Are Full of Excuses

Chelsea Rice, for HealthLeaders Media, September 23, 2013

Minimum wages and OT mandated for home health workers

Last Tuesday, the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division approved the final rule expanding the Fair Labor Standards Act's minimum wage and overtime protections to home health care workers. Two million direct care workers, home health aides, personal care aides, and certified nursing assistants will be affected by this change, a group whose work falls under "domestic services" and whose federal labor laws haven't been updated in 38 years.

Direct care workers remain one of the lowest-paid sectors of the service sector, and so improving their training, as well as the quality of the care provided by these workers, was becoming increasingly difficult.

Effective January 1, 2015, the exemptions to minimum wage for those who simply provide "companionship services" now can only be claimed by individuals, and no longer by staffing agencies. Those workers are defined as individuals who are hired primarily for companionship, protection, and basic care needs by an elderly individual or their family, now excluding any direct care workers who provide services that require medical training.

The overtime pay protections can substantially raise the salaries of these workers, who often work long hours to care for people needing independent, round-the-clock care. Medicare and Medicaid costs are expected to increase by under three-tenths of 1% of what federal and state governments spend on the program.

The final rule, according to the Department of Labor, reflects the trend that more elderly wish to have their medical care provided at home instead of a nursing or long-term care facility, and increasingly rely on home care professionals with medical training.


Chelsea Rice is an associate editor for HealthLeaders Media.
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3 comments on "HR Roundup: Hospital Layoffs Are Full of Excuses"


Charles M (9/25/2013 at 4:45 PM)
Not much meat at all in the article to back up the opinionated headline and first paragraph. Not HealthLeaders typical excellent reporting. Disappointed.

Tom Gee (9/24/2013 at 4:40 PM)
I can't speak for a Cleveland Clinic or Vanderbilt which may definitely be reorganizing their large organizations, but as a small rural hospital that has recently laid off staff, we are doing so as a direct result of the cuts included in the Affordable Care Act and the Sequestration cuts under the budget deficit fiasco. In our system there are definitely the haves and have nots and rural hospitals are in a very vulnerable postion due these cuts. Threats by our state and others to not implement the expanded Medicaid or unisured benefits of the Affordable Care Act create even more uncertainty.

bettynoyes (9/23/2013 at 5:23 PM)
Whatever happens, for whatever reasons, what holds the key to success in quality, safety, and costs, is the front line managers ability to communicate and manage the complex change with their staff. Giving them the skills will reap benefits!