The Department of Labor has decided to eliminate the caregiver exemption in 2015, which means all home care workers will receive minimum wage and overtime pay. A 1974 loophole had exempted caregivers from labor protections by classifying them as companions.

Brooklyn lawyer T.K. Small is furious with the decision’s impact on consumer directed care. “I object to the overtime rules because they will infringe on my freedom to schedule my life,” he says. Small sees little benefit for caregivers, since currently there is no plan for extra funding to pay for overtime. “The workers that they allegedly want to help will see a reduced paycheck,” he says. Three of Small’s caregivers will see significant pay cuts.

Texas vent user Vicki Jurney-Taylor disagrees. She says the decision makes it easier to hire dedicated and qualified caregivers. Jurney-Taylor is concerned Medicaid won’t fund overtime but says people need to consider the well-being of their employees. She admits change is frightening but encourages people not to jump to conclusions before the kinks are worked out.

Click here to send a letter to the editor to comment on this story.