Federal labor officials to Idaho: Enforce home-care wages

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BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The U.S. Department of Labor is urging Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter to prepare for a new rule that extends minimum wage protections and overtime for most home-care workers.

The Idaho Statesman (http://bit.ly/1i2EKaq) reports that Otter received a letter from U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez on Sept. 2, urging the governor to get Idaho ready for compliance now.

The federal rule went into effect in October 2013 but was challenged in court. Last month a federal appellate court upheld the rule, a decision that Perez said could require some budget changes.

Several states already include home-care workers in minimum wage and overtime-pay protections. Idaho is not one of them.

"As you know, this is a crucial issue affecting many of your State's citizens, including low-wage workers, seniors, and individuals with disabilities, that could require an adjustment to your State's budget or programs as well as careful and timely attention to the legal rights afforded to individuals with disabilities," Perez wrote.

The ruling doesn't take effect immediately, and last month an attorney for the National Association for Home Care and Hospice said the plaintiffs in the case were still considering whether to seek an appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Perez said that "public entities must have in place an individualized process" to make sure that if a person's home-care hours are cut because of the wage rule, the reduction isn't so great that it keeps that person from being able to live at home.


Information from: Idaho Statesman, http://www.idahostatesman.com

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