Rules boost pay for home health care workers

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration has approved new rules that extend minimum wage and overtime protections to home health care workers.

The rules give a long-awaited boost to nearly 2 million workers who spend their days helping the elderly and disabled with everyday tasks such as bathing, eating or taking medicine.

Home care aides have been exempt from federal wage laws since 1974, when they were placed in the same category as neighborhood baby sitters. But their ranks have surged with the aging population and the field is now one of the fastest-growing professions.

Labor unions and worker advocacy groups have been urging the change for years. But some health service companies claim that higher wages will make it tougher for families to afford home care for aging parents.

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