Federal Court Strikes Down Rule on Pay for Home-Health Workers

Late Wednesday afternoon, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., struck down a proposed change to the Fair Labor Standards Act that would have required private and state-managed home health care agencies to pay their employees overtime and minimum wage.

Home health attendants and aides, disproportionately African American, female wage earners—neither nurse nor maid, but a combination of both—have historically been singled out for denial of basic labor rights. The DOL issued a new rule in September of 2013, which would have finally included home-care workers under FLSA coverage. The overall rule was set to take effect on Jan. 1 of this year, but the portion struck down Wednesday was put on hold until Jan. 15 pending the court’s decision.

Maria Fernandez, Bernardo Vega

Home health aide Maria Fernandez, right, helps Bernardo Vega, 88, left, make the bed as she performs household chores for Vega and his wife. Fernandez works for United Home Care Services which provides health care and home care services for elderly and disabled adults. Photograph by Lynne Sladky — AP

 

“The affected workers—often known as personal-care aides, home-health aides or certified nursing assistants—typically bathe, dress and feed elderly or disabled patients. A large percentage of them are hired directly by people with disabilities or their families. Others are employed by private companies that provide services. Workers typically are paid with Medicaid funds administered by states.

“Many home-health workers already are paid more than the federal minimum wage—currently $7.25 an hour—but don’t get paid time-and-a-half when they work more than 40 hours a week. Many also have no health-care coverage themselves.”

Read more from Time, Fortune and the Wall Street Journal

DACA & DAPA: Avoiding Scams

President Obama has announced a series of executive actions on immigration. USCIS is NOT yet accepting applications or requests for these initiatives. Visit www.uscis.gov/immigrationaction for information on when to submit a request.

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Avoid Scams: Beware of anyone who offers to help you submit an application or request at this time based on the President’s announcement—it may be an immigration scam. More information about the Executive Actions on Immigration.

Acciones Ejecutivas sobre Inmigración: No solicite todavía. El Presidente Obama anunció una serie de acciones ejecutivas sobre inmigración. USCIS aún no está aceptando solicitudes o peticiones para estas iniciativas.

Evite estafas: Tenga cuidado con personas que le ofrezcan ayuda para obtener beneficios relacionados con el anuncio del presidente; podría ser una estafa de inmigración. Mas información sobre acciones ejecutivas sobre inmigración.

Visite www.uscis.gov/accionmigratoria para información sobre cuándo presentar una petición.

 

 

 

 

 

One Map Reveals Just How Hard It Is to Pay Your Rent in America

 

“Real estate database Zillow has published a map with the minimum wage required to afford the median rent in metropolitan areas across the country without spending more than 30% of income, and the numbers are simply staggering.” For example, “around San Francisco, a person needs to earn $59.72 an hour, or $119,440 a year.” 

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Read more here or take a look at the interactive map here

The Case Of The Missing Wage Thief

Four years after winning a lawsuit demanding $1.5 million in back wages and damages from the restaurant that employed them, none of the plaintiffs have seen any of the money. “Countless immigrants in the restaurant industry work long hours for illegal wages. And even when they get a court of law to rule in their favor, they very rarely see a penny of the money that was taken from them.” The owner shut down his restaurants and “disappeared like a ghost.”

/buzzfeed news

/buzzfeed news

 

 

 

 

“Cao’s story is both strange and ordinary… At every job, Cao worked 11 or 12 hours a day, six days a week. He was paid flat wages that never added up to more than $1,300 a month, always in cash, and with no such thing as overtime pay… Wage theft is an everyday occurrence in American restaurants, especially for workers like Cao. The Restaurant Opportunity Center’s study of the industry in eight major cities across the country found that 46% of workers reported overtime violations, one of the most common ways of skirting wage laws. As for New York City, the National Employment Law Project estimated in 2008 that there are overtime violations in 75% of the city’s restaurants.”

Read more here.

Pay Stubs for All

The goal: Paystubs for All Workers.

“Although most workers receive paystubs, as many as 20 million U.S. workers do not receive paystubs that outline how their pay is calculated or what deductions were taken from their wages. 

“There is no federal requirement that employers give workers paystubs. Often, workers who don’t receive paystubs are victims of wage theft, cheated of the pay they legally earned. A Paystubs for All regulation would require employers to provide workers with the information that they are already required to keep and would help deter wage theft. Without paystubs for documentation, workers have difficulty proving wage theft.
 
“Interfaith Worker Justice and many worker advocates around the country are encouraging the U.S. Department of Labor to issue a simple regulation that all workers covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act must receive paystubs.” Read more here about what you can do.  

Amazon Wage Theft Ruling by Supreme Court

“Retail warehouses don’t have to pay workers for the time they spend in security screenings to make sure they’re not stealing, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in a unanimous decision that reverses a lower court’s finding that workers must be paid for that time.”

“The decision was a big loss for workers challenging the security checks, which are common among retailers. According to a brief filed by the agency, there have been 13 class-action lawsuits against Amazon and other companies involving more than 400,000 plaintiffs and seeking hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Read more on the case here and here.

Why struggles for criminal justice and living wage are uniting

“Black Lives Matter” doesn’t just refer to cops killing unarmed teens. Here’s why it’s expanding to mean much more. Black poverty is state violence, too. 

“For the second time in a week, the swelling protests against police brutality and an unequal criminal justice system coincided with planned labor strikes at low-wage employers yesterday, and for the second time, protesters joined forces, combining the struggle for a living wage with the struggle for the right to live free of police violence.

Members of Show Me $15 in North St. Louis (Credit: David Nehrt-Flores)

Members of Show Me $15 in North St. Louis (Credit: David Nehrt-Flores)

“Convenience store workers, airport workers, and home care workers joined the actions calling for $15 an hour and a union, broadening the movement still more, but what really gave Thursday its kick was the connection to the emotions (and tactics) of Ferguson activists and their nationwide supporters. Robinson and his fellow workers staged a “die-in” as part of their day of actions, in a North St. Louis convenience store, their bodies stretched between metal racks of chips and candy, clogging the space in an echo both of historic sit-down strikes (that Walmart workers also evoked two weeks back) and a reminder of the way Brown’s body lay in the street for four and a half hours after he was shot.

“Labor struggles have a long, checkered history with struggles for racial justice and particularly against violence. Black workers’ unions were central to the Civil Rights movement… Their struggle—remember the “I Am a Man” signs carried by the workers in Memphis—was always about more than just wages. It was and is about being seen as humans worthy of respect, respect they would demand if it was not freely given.”

Read more from Salon here

 

 

 

It’s Time for a National Retail Workers’ Bill of Rights

 

San Francisco became the first city in the nation Tuesday to demand retail chain stores give at least two weeks’ notice before altering an employee’s work schedule. Under the Retail Workers Bill of Rights, retailers, as well as security and janitorial contractors who are employed by retail stores, must afford greater protections to workers’ schedules.

The bill requires that retail stores offer part-time employees additional hours before hiring new part-time employees, hoping to slow “involuntary part-time employment,” whereby employees are boxed into part-time work even though their employer has more work available. “The involuntary part-time employment rate more than doubled between 2007 and 2012, the Carsey Institute observed in a 2013 labor study. “For women, it rose from 3.6% to 7.8%. For men, the rate increased from 2.4% in 2007 to 5.9% in 2012.”

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Last week, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously backed this “Retail Workers Bill of Rights” which combined several pieces of legislation with an eye toward

* Promoting Full-Time Work and Access to Hours

To encourage full-time employment, employers must offer more hours to existing part-time employees before hiring additional part-time workers.

* Encouraging Fair, Predictable Schedules

To discourage erratic, unpredictable scheduling practices, employers will be required to post schedules at least two weeks in advance. Employees will receive one hour of pay at their regular rate of pay for schedule changes made with less than a week’s notice and two to four hours of pay for schedule changes made with less than 24 hours’ notice.

* Discouraging Abusive On-Call Scheduling Practices

Employers will be required to provide two to four hours of pay to an employee at his/her regular rate of pay when she/he is required to be “on-call” for a specified shift but the employer cancels the shift with less than 24 hours’ notice.

* Equal Treatment for Part-Time Workers

Employers will be prohibited from discriminating against an employee with respect to their starting rate of pay, access to employer-provided paid and unpaid time off, or access to promotion opportunities.

* Encouraging Worker Retention and Job Security

If an employer’s company is bought or sold, the workers must keep on at their jobs for at least a 90-day trial period.

Read more from The Nation and News.Mic.

Where To Shop To Support Workers This Black Friday

About one in four American workers will have to go to work this year on a holiday, be it Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s Day. Given that no American worker gets the guarantee that they can take a paid holiday off, their options are limited. Employees at Kmart and Target even tell ThinkProgress that they aren’t allowed to ask for holidays off and face being fired if they don’t come in.

CREDIT: ADAM PECK/THINKPROGRESS

CREDIT: ADAM PECK/ THINKPROGRESS

But consumers have options about whether or not to support stores that open. While 12 brands have decided to open their doors on Thanksgiving Day, requiring millions of workers to miss out on time with friends and family, 18 others have decided to stay closed. Follow this link to read more from Think Progress.