Home Health Workers: All the Work, Half the Pay
Lai Yee Chan worked piece-rate in the city's textile factories for more than a decade to support her three children after she emigrated from China in the late 1980s. She sometimes labored until 2 a.m. for such brands as DKNY and saw co-workers faint from the stifling summer heat in a Midtown warehouse.
Chan's current workplace, the apartment of an elderly man with Alzheimer's who was partially paralyzed by a stroke, looks nothing like the factory floor. But during the seven years when she cared for him in 24-hour shifts, it felt like a sweatshop just the same.
Chan is part of a cohort of New York home care workers that has filed more than a dozen class-action lawsuits against employers to challenge an industrywide practice known as the 13-hour rule, a state-sanctioned policy in which home care workers are paid for just 12 or 13 hours of a 24-hour shift. . .