Home Health Aides during Covid
Home health aides are some of the many healthcare providers who have been hard-hit during the Covid-19 pandemic. Home health aides (HHAs) provide care for the elderly and infirm, working up to 24 hours in a shift, usually earning only the minimum wage. And HHAs in New York typically aren’t paid for the full 24 hours, but instead for 13 hours of their shift.
In 2019, the New York Court of Appeals upheld the state DOL’s “13-hour rule.” This rule means that HHAs can be paid for only 13 hours of their 24-hour shift, provided they are given eight hours of sleep time, five hours of which must be uninterrupted, and three hours of meal breaks. Although this might make sense in theory, in practice, HHAs who are providing round-the-clock care for their patients rarely get these breaks and must be prepared to work at any time throughout their 24-hour shift.
These low-wage caregivers are now risking their own health and safety to care for others – often taking public transportation to work and risking exposure, or working without protective gear. In some states, HHAs have been able to organize and earn temporary wage increases, expanded health insurance, and safety equipment. HHAs in New York are continuing to ask for help.
Getman, Sweeney & Dunn is proud to represent and fight for the rights of home health aides.
You can read more about the plight of HHAs in the NY Times