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Basic Protections For Home Care Workers Stall At White House

In the midst of Women's History Month, more than 2 million workers – 88% of them women – wait for President Obama to fulfill his promise to improve their pay.

WASHINGTON, March 21, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A year after more than 20,000 positive comments poured in from Americans across the country in support of basic labor protections for home care workers, President Barack Obama's proposal to finally bring justice to the people who care for our nation's elders and people with disabilities remains in limbo.

"It is ironic that we, as a nation, are celebrating women's history this month," said Tracy Dudzinski, chair of the Direct Care Alliance (DCA) board of directors. "Instead of being able to sit back and celebrate, America's home care workers are still fighting for the right to minimum wage and overtime pay. I don't think we'd be working without these protections if nine out of ten of us were men instead of women."

In December 2011, President Obama announced a proposed rule that would extend minimum wage and overtime protections to home care workers under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  FLSA has excluded home care workers since its enactment in 1938, contributing to the low wages that leave many living in poverty or dependent on government assistance.

During the comment period that ended on March 21, 2012, President Obama's proposed rule received resounding public support. Despite delays along the way, workers got closer to seeing justice this January, when the U.S. Department of Labor submitted its rule to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for final approval.

"OMB is the last step in the review process before this injustice against home care workers finally becomes a thing of the past," said DCA Interim Executive Director David Ward. "But as we near the end of March without a decision being made, we feel perplexed and frustrated by the Administration's failure to enact the law."

"It has been 14 months since I stood behind the President when he announced the rule as one of his We Can't Wait initiatives," Dudzinski said. "I hope my fellow home care workers and I won't have to wait much longer."

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