Home Healthcare Aides are Not Domestic Service Employees and May Unionize

Minnesota Home Healthcare workers are permitted to unionize. While this ruling does not have much impact for most of our readers, the backstory should resonate with you. Minnesota passed a law that allowed collective bargaining for home care providers for Medicaid recipients. The 2013 law called the Individual Providers of Direct Support Services Representation Act (IPRA) allowed home care providers for Medicaid recipients to seek union representation under the state’s labor relations act. Minnesota is one of about 10 states with a similar law.

That law was challenged as violating the U.S. Constitution by unlawfully preempting the National Labor Relations Act. Opponents of the law said, “By seeking to reclassify individual providers as state employees for the purpose of collective bargaining when the NLRA precludes domestic service employees entirely from collective bargaining, the IPRA is in direct conflict with the NLRA. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals decided that the Act was not preempted and states are free to regulate their workers as they see fit. Accordingly, home healthcare aids are not domestic service employees.

Matt Austin is a lawyer based in the Columbus, Ohio office of Roetzel & Andress, LPA who limits his practice to representing employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can call Matt at (614) 723-2010 or email him at maustin@ralaw.com.