The New York State Department of Labor on Thursday announced a minimum wage increase for home care aides. Effective Oct. 1, through Public Health Law § 3614-f, the minimum wage for home care aides has been increased to $17 per hour in New York City, Long Island and Westchester, and $15.20 per hour for the remainder of New York.
“We know how valuable our home care aides are, especially with the shortages we’re currently seeing,” New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said. “This minimum wage increase will ensure home care aides are well paid and able to support themselves and their families, which will help attract more people to the profession. Overall, this will ensure better worker retention and patient care.”
This follows an order by the commissioner and state budget director raising the general minimum wage to $14.20 for counties outside of New York City, Westchester and Long Island, beginning Dec. 31, leading to an additional $1 increase an hour for home care aides in those locations.
Under Public Health Law § 3614-f, “home care aide” refers to a home health aide, personal care aide, home attendant or other licensed or unlicensed person whose primary responsibility includes the provision of in-home assistance with activities of daily living, instrumental activities of daily living or health-related tasks; provided, however, that home care aide does not include any individual (i) working on a casual basis, or (ii) who is a relative through blood, marriage or adoption of: (1) the employer; or (2) the person for whom the worker is delivering services, under a program funded or administered by federal, state or local government.
Home care aides may be owed extra pay in addition to minimum wage rates for:
√ Overtime – Home care aides must be paid 1½ times their regular rate of pay for weekly hours over 40 (or 44 for residential employees).
√ Call-in pay – If home care aides go to work as scheduled and their employer sends them home early, they may be entitled to extra hours of pay at the minimum wage rate for that day.
√ Spread of hours – If home care aides’ workdays last longer than 10 hours, they may be entitled to extra daily pay. The daily rate is equal to one hour of pay at the minimum wage rate.
√ Uniform maintenance – If home care aides clean their own uniform, they may be entitled to additional weekly pay.
The only time an employer may reduce wages below minimum wage is to claim a limited allowance for meals and lodging, provided they do not charge for those services.