Biden government launches nursing worker rights initiative

The Biden administration said on Tuesday that it will strengthen law enforcement to ensure that essential workers are paid correctly and to educate individuals about their rights.

Under the new initiative, Labour Department The plan is to educate basic nursing staff about the right to minimum wage and overtime pay and how to lodge a complaint if they believe their rights have been violated. The government will also ensure that employers will not mistakenly classify workers as independent contractors.

According to the press release, the Department of Labor will establish partnerships with state and local stakeholders to ensure that workers understand their rights and employers understand their responsibilities.

The press release stated that employer compliance will be a key element of the plan.The department recovered more than $38.7 million Wage arrears In the 2021 fiscal year, more and more surveyors are discovering that employers mistake workers for independent contractors.

“Professional nursing staff has been and will continue to be one of the most important workers in our country. We look forward to them taking care of us and our families, and they deserve our appreciation, respect and protection,” said Jessica Lu, an agent payroll and working hours administrator Man (Jessica Looman) said in a statement. Press Releases.

Nursing advocates said it was great to see staff at the department center talking about workers’ rights.

“I think what is really positive is that as the details of these efforts move forward, what we hope to see is that workers do have the right to be their best advocates, not only in terms of increasing personal salaries, but also providing better workforces. Support system,” said Nicole Jorwic, Head of Publicity and Campaign for Caring Across Generations.

The Department of Labor said it announced the news at the end of the National Family Nursing and Hospice Month. A spokesperson said that the initiative applies to home health assistants because the home care industry has a history of violations. But it also applies to nursing assistants, emergency medical technicians, childcare workers and other personnel.

Bill Dombi, president and CEO of the National Association of Home Care and Hospice Care, said that most home care providers understand the rights of home care workers, but some require review. He said that suppliers have been focusing on improvements in recent years, including the correct determination of compensable working hours and determining when workers can be classified as independent contractors.

Improvements in these areas “will help home care companies avoid costly audits and potential litigation and the double losses that follow [Fair Labor Standards Act] Violations,” Toby said.

The Labour Department implemented a rule In 2015, overtime and federal minimum wage protections were extended to the industry.The home care industry challenged the rule, but the Supreme Court Let it stand. this 2020 Government Accountability Office found The rule has caused some states to restrict workers’ working hours to prevent them from working overtime. GAO said that after the rules came into effect, the income of home care workers did not increase significantly.

Dombi said that employers cannot afford overtime, which is usually due to low Medicaid rates.

“The consequences today are even more serious because [the] The shortage of workers has increased. However, the solution does not lie in the employer’s non-compliance. On the contrary, at least until the labor force increases, the payer needs to work overtime and pay for overtime,” he said.

Bureau of Labor Statistics project Employment in home care assistants and personal care assistants-a field mainly composed of women of color-will increase by 33% between 2020 and 2030, which is much higher than the average occupational growth rate.

As the COVID-19 pandemic creates more Home care needs, The Biden administration has made improving the conditions of workers a priority. President Joe Biden initially proposed that Congress invest $400 billion in Medicaid family and community services, in part to help raise the wages of home caregivers.this Settlement Act Passed by the House of Representatives, the Senate is currently considering cutting investment to 150 billion U.S. dollars.

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