The Labor Department on Tuesday announced a new rule that would extend minimum wage and overtime protections to nearly 2 million direct care workers.
The new rule would apply to workers such as home health aides, personal care aides and certified nursing assistants, and will take effect Jan. 1, 2015.
These workers would now be covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Previously, these positions were exempt because they fell under the "companionship services" category, which includes baby-sitters.
But labor officials and the Obama administration said these types of jobs have become increasingly professionalized.
"Today we are taking an important step toward guaranteeing that these professionals receive the wage protections they deserve while protecting the right of individuals to live at home," U.S. Secretary of Labor
Tuesday's announcement is viewed as a victory for labor, which has been trying to organize these types of workers to seek workplace protections.
In a statement, Richard Trumka, president of the
"The rule issued today by the
Fortman said that delaying the rule implementation until 2015 will give health insurers, businesses and others time to adjust to the change.
The rule applies to workers who perform medically-related services, the Labor Department said. Workers who are employed primarily for companionship will still be considered exempt from minimum wage and overtime protections.