Join us on Wednesday July 11 at 10:00 am to speak up for the rights of patients and home care workers. The New York State (NYS) Department of Labor (DOL) is holding a public hearing to make permanent the Emergency Regulations it issued last October concerning 24-hour home care attendants. The hearing will be held at 11 a.m. on July 11, 2018 at 55 Hanson Place, Brooklyn, NY 11217. The regulations undermined the previous wage laws established after 3 NYS court decisions ruled that home attendants must be paid for all 24-hours of a 24-hour shift. The NYSDOL emergency regulation allow employers to evade these court rulings, forcing home attendants to prove each day that they did not sleep at least five hours without interruption, thus sanctioning the industry-wide practice of paying home attendants for only 13 hours in a 24-hour shift.
Home attendants assigned to 24-hour shifts are caring for patients who have been approved for around-the -clock care because of their medical condition. Many are bed ridden, fall risks or have dementia. Home attendants are not allowed to leave the patients’ home during a 24-hour shift. Some shifts are five or six days a week. Home attendants say the regulation is establishing the conditions for modern day slavery-forcing thousands of mostly immigrant women and women of color to toil all night without pay in patients’ homes.
Furthermore, NYSDOL’s emergency regulation hurts patients. After the regulations were issued, to avoid paying for the night-time hours, some home care agencies began instructing home attendants to ignore patient’s needs after 9 pm even if the patient calls for them. How can home attendants ignore their patients’ needs? When workers refuse to ignore their patients, they are fired. The NYSDOL is setting up conditions to make workers willfully ignore patient needs – as if to say that patients’ health conditions can be turned off like a light switch.
For the health and well-being of patients and home attendants, we call on the NYSDOL to:
 Tokhtaman v. Human Care, LLC, 149 AD3d 476 [1st Dept 2017]; Andryeyeva v. New York Health Care, Inc., 153 AD3d 1216 [App Div 2017]; Moreno v. Future Care Health Services, Inc., 153 AD3d 1254 [2d Dept 2017].