Protect Those Who Care for Us Interfaith Group Opposes Proposed "Companionship Exemption Protection Act"

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For Immediate Release, June 13, 2012
Contact: Cathy Junia
Phone: 773-728-8400 x. 40 (office) * 773-710-9837 (cell)

National — Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ), the leading national organization engaging people of faith in economic and worker justice issues, strongly opposes any move to delay or block rules to provide home care workers with basic wage and hour protections.

“Shame on Senators who would hold the Department of Labor (DOL) budget hostage to prevent home care workers from getting minimum wage and overtime protections,” said IWJ Executive Director Kim Bobo. “The DOL's efforts to update regulations to ensure that home care workers are provided core labor standards should be affirmed and applauded.”

In March, nearly 1,300 people of faith joined IWJ in supporting the DOL’s proposed rule change, which will provide basic wage and hour protections to those who care for our grandparents, parents, disabled relatives and others close to us.

Last week, however, a group of Republican senators introduced legislation aimed at blocking efforts to extend minimum wage and overtime protections to an estimated 1.8 million home care workers.

The proposed bill, “The Companionship Exemption Protection Act”, aims to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to preserve the current state of the law’s so-called companionship services exemption, which includes home care workers.

If passed, it will prohibit the DOL from enacting the rule change that will require home care agencies to pay their workers at least minimum wage and overtime when they work more than 40 hours a week.

The Senate Appropriations Committee will meet tomorrow to discuss the proposed bill. People of faith are mobilizing to oppose this anti-worker bill. As Americans grow older we need a stronger home care workforce to make sure that our loved ones are well cared for. We need to be fair to those who care.

IWJ has been educating, resourcing, and mobilizing the religious community in support of justice for workers and working families since 1996. For more information about IWJ, visit our website or contact Cathy Junia, 773-710-9837