The Labor Department moved Tuesday to extend minimum wage and overtime pay rights to nearly two million domestic care workers.
The burgeoning in-home health industry has long been exempt from those rights with aids and assistant nurses who have traditionally fallen under the Fair Labor Standards Act's "companionship exemption," under which they are denied the benefits.
Advocates of the change, including President Obama, have argued that federal pay regulations reflect a shift toward more in-home care of the elderly and infirmed.
"Many American families rely on the vital services provided by direct care workers," said Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "Today we are taking an important step toward guaranteeing that these professionals receive the wage protections they deserve while protecting the right of individuals to live at home."