The White House and the Department of Labor are expected to propose new regulations this afternoon to protect home health-care workers under the Fair Labor Standards Act, guaranteeing that they will receive the minimum wage and overtime protections. This will affect approximately two million home-care workers, many of whom are minority and immigrant women, according to the New York Times. Once the changes are announced, 60 days of public commentary will follow.

“The job they do is a real job and they deserve the same basic rights as any other workers. This industry has one of the nation’s fastest growing work forces, and the challenge is to make these better jobs if we’re trying to attract good people to come and provide the services,” said Steven Edelstein, the national policy director of Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute of New York (PHI), a nonprofit organization that advocates from home health-care workers.

Currently home-care workers are considered “companionship workers,” akin to babysitters, and are not covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

New York Times 12/15/11; Associated Press 12/15/11