Letters: Weighing the costs of in-home care
Re “Budget crunch for care aides,” Jan. 21
Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration has proposed that, in response to new requirements to pay time-and-a-half for overtime, California’s In-Home Supportive Services personal assistants should not be allowed to work more than 40 hours per week.
This is a needlessly rigid response to the new U.S. Department of Labor rule, which finally grants to home care aides the same wage and hour protections the majority of U.S. workers receive.
Rather than an overarching rule restricting overtime, the state must balance the needs of consumers, workers and taxpayers. In some cases, splitting hours between two workers will reduce exhaustion and injuries.
In other cases, the consumer’s disability and family situation may indeed require overtime pay.
Such a strict prohibition against overtime could force a consumer into a nursing home. And thus, if Brown is attempting to save money by barring overtime hours, he may be in for a surprise.
By our calculation, even if a home care worker were to receive overtime pay when working the maximum 283 hours a month, the cost of home care would still be 25% less than nursing home care.
Jodi M. Sturgeon
New York City
The writer is president of the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute.
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