United States Department of Labor: Don't remove the "companion exemption" to the FLSA until money is there.
  • Petitioning Portia Wu

This petition will be delivered to:

Senior Policy Advisor, White House Domestic Policy Council
Portia Wu
United States Department of Labor
Deputy Secretary Seth D. Harris
Acting Director, Office of Management & Budget
Jeffrey Zients
Office of Management and Budget
Brenda Aguilar
Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy, White House
Rob Nabors
US Department of Labor
Laura McClintock

United States Department of Labor: Don't remove the "companion exemption" to the FLSA until money is there.

    1. Philip Bennett
    2. Petition by

      Philip Bennett

      Bklyn., NY

The Federal Department of Labor (DOL) is proposing changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)to Domestic Service which, if put into effect, will seriously reduce the take-home pay of countless numbers of homecare workers such as I and make the lives of the people with disabilities we assist less manageable.
The changes would require the payment of minimum wage to homecare workers and mandate that homecare workers must receive time and a half pay for every hour over 40 hours per week of work done. Medicaid/Medicare would bear most of the burden.
This sounds like it would be a major victory for me and my fellow homecare workers, right? But where is the money to pay for this? If the law says we can't work without minimum wage or time and a half pay but the money's not there, then we won't be allowed to work those hours!
That means, instead of increasing our take-home pay, the proposal will slash all hours beyond 40 per week of our pay. For a worker currently working 48 hours per week, that's 416 hours and $4,742.40 per year he or she will lose.
And workers who currently put in 84 hours per week will suffer a 44 hour loss -- over half their pay!
Healthcare insurance will also be harder to qualify for since it's based on the number of hours worked.
As a result, many workers will be forced to seek out second or third jobs to make up the loss.
And, for the people we assist, their lives will be harder. They will endure a reduction in homecare hours or will have to tolorate more workers coming in and out of their homes or pay an unafordably higher deductable for the service or be forced to hire nonprofessionals. That means more poorly paid people in their homes with even less incentive to do a good job. Many people with disabilities have a hard enough time right now managing their assistants. Add to that an increase in the co-pay and the added strain will force many to give up and move into nursing homes.
Who benefits from this proposal? Certainly the nursing home industry. Also the homecare unions which will receive more dues-paying members even as all the members' average standard-of-living declines. Even the most poorly-paid worker in a closed shop is required to turn over at least $25.10 per month in union dues. That's a windfall for union coffers even as the average standard of living of the workers plummets.
What can we do? We can demand that, before this proposal is put into effect, funding for it be allocated and in place to begin payment immediately. Finding this money won't be easy. The federal government is 16 trillion dollars in debt (that's $16,000,000,000,000: a lot of zeros!) The states and municipalities aren't doing much better. But, until we are shown the money, this proposal is nothing but a shell game which promises a reward but leaves us worse off than before.
Please, my brothers and sisters, before too many of you fall for this pie-in-the-sky scheme, before the DOL proposal is shoved onto us, we must see the money.
Contact the White House (202-456-1111 or 202-4561414). Tell them, before they end the overtime exemption, first SHOW US THE MONEY!

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 500 signatures
    2. Still a long path just to keep what we have.

      Philip Bennett
      Petition Organizer

      Hi everyone. Thanks again for signing our petition to save home care. 381 signatures so far! However..... we could do better. Since many of you are stuck inside due to the cold and might have nothing better to do, could you all please mass-mail our petition with old-fashioned email and share it with as many people as you can with Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or whatever? The nursing home industry and their supporters are very powerful. This is not an easy fight. It's a marathon of soul force versus run-away greed. Please do the right thing, siblings! Thank you.

    3. Fight for home care and a real living wage for workers!

      Philip Bennett
      Petition Organizer

      Please, people, don't just share this on Facebook, Tweet it, post it in your emails! Those who are doing this to us are very powerful. So we must make that extra effort. Please spread this petition far and wide! Our homes, not nursing homes!!!

    4. Fight for home care and a real living wage for workers!

      Philip Bennett
      Petition Organizer

      Thanks so much recent signers!!!!! We want that overtime money allocated or at least force these folks pushing this change to delay the implementation till a compromise is reached. We don't want home care workers see their hours cut back, which is happening in California. Share this petition and urge people to sign. Also contact the media which is largely ignoring this issue and the facts. C'mon people! Our homes, not nursing homes!!!

    5. Home care workers & disabled people's lives set to be ruined on Labor Day.

      Philip Bennett
      Petition Organizer

      Despite nationwide protests against elimination of the companion exemption before there's funding to pay for it or a compromise can be negotiated, the rules change is likely to be put into effect this Labor Day. I ask all reading this: PLEASE CALL THE WHITE HOUSE at 202-456-1414, ask for the Office of Management and Budget, then the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and DEMAND that the Dept. of Labor not change the rules until negotiations can effectively begin so the least number of people will be hurt. And please share my petition with as many people as possible.

    6. Reached 250 signatures
    7. Home care workers and people we assist may be saved!

      Philip Bennett
      Petition Organizer

      I ask all who signed my petition to please call the White House (202-456-1414) & ask for the Office of Information & Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). OMB is currently reviewing the FLSA change & is set to release it April 1st. We need to tell OMB to reject it & thereby save home care workers & the people we assist. Comments can be made to OMB through OIRA.
      The name of the regulation is FLSA Domestic Service Regs (29CFR 552
      and the ID at OMB is RIN# 1235-AA05
      Unfortunately that phone number is not released to the public so we must call the White House switch board. For more information call me, Philip Bennett: 718-339-0404
      And please share my petition with as many people as possible. I love my job & I want to afford to keep doing it & I don't want to see more people forced into nursing homes. Thank you!

    8. Reached 100 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Paula Lanese SAN DIEGO, CA
      • 3 months ago

      In concept this sounds good but so many people need 24 hour care and could never afford this. It is difficult enough to get help. I have a disabled daughter and everything we do is a challenge. Please do ad another.

    • shannon gomber RIVERSIDE, CA
      • 3 months ago

      Because it will effect my family

      • 3 months ago

      I have 2 disabled children, this means I can care for only one of them. and will need to work outside the home to make ends meet.

    • Tina Young TULSA, OK
      • 3 months ago

      I know these programs and they work. If they were removed it would be like splitting families apart.

    • Kelly Morrison TULSA, OK
      • 3 months ago

      I have taken care of the gentleman i work with for almost 20 years now. He is a member of my family and has no other family. We are very attached. He gets very upset and cries and refuses to eat just when I have to take my annual training classes. This would be very devastating to him if he had to move into a supported living situation and have 24 hour rotating staff. He would be crushed and I would be very worried about him. He's 65 years old and has Down Syndrome and needs the consistancy of care that he receives now. This would not be fair to him at all and I would actually be making a lot less money than I am now. If we didn't want to do this kind of work and didn't agree with the terms then we wouldn't have signed the contract. It would be very cruel to rip these folks out of the only real family home they have ever known.


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