On Wednesday May 9th, home attendants, other workers, women’s groups and patient advocates, will announce a lawsuit against the NYS Department of Labor (DOL) challenging its emergency regulation that sanctions a 24-hour work day while only paying for 13 hours. The DOL regulation violates the state’s own labor laws and furthermore, may violate the 13th amendment of the U.S. Constitution by forcing workers to stay in patients’ homes without overnight pay.
Home attendants, 89% of whom are women, say the new regulation is bringing modern-day slavery to the state and harming patients just as much as the workers. For example, some agencies are now instructing home attendants to not respond to the patients’ needs at night and to call 911 if there is an emergency. Workers are unable to leave the patients’ home during a 24-hour shift and most are unable to sleep through the night, affecting not only workers’ health but also the quality of care they are able to provide for elderly, sick and disabled patients.
Workers and supporters will urge Governor Cuomo to rescind the emergency regulation and to stop all efforts to legislate a 24-hour workday for home attendants.