Direct Care Workforce Overview
This page addresses rights and responsibilities, and Colorado’s board addressing labor in the direct care industry -- defined in SB 23-261 as “the industry of workers who provide home-based or community-based direct care to individuals who require assistance in accomplishing activities of daily living.”
- Who is considered a Direct Care Worker?
“Direct care workers” work in the healthcare industry, in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors. The term “direct care workers” usually includes Nursing Aides, Home Health Aides, Personal Care Aides, Companions, and other jobs. For example, it also includes home and community-based services (HCBS), facility work (day programs, assisted living, etc.), Job Coaching, Job Development, Mentorship, and Pre-Vocational services.
If you are unsure whether you are part of this worker class, see Base Wage Requirement for Direct Care Workers – Frequently Asked Questions by the Department of Health Care Policy and Finance (HCPF), and HCPF’s OM 23-040 for covered Medicaid service and waiver types.
- Workers' Rights for Direct Care Workers
In almost all cases, have the same rights/protections under Colorado law as all other workers, with a few narrow industry and worker-specific exceptions. Worker rights include:
- Timely wage payment
- Overtime Pay
- Direct Care Base Wage rate or Colorado Minimum Wage (whichever is higher)
- Break Times
- Payment for Time Worked, including Certain Travel Time
- And more!
In its outreach to workers and employers, the CDLE Division of Labor Standards and Statistics (“DLSS”) has created informational sheets specifically for certain work types, called “KNOWLEDGE” sheets (Knowledge for Workers on Labor law is Empowering and Drives Good Employment). KNOWLEDGE #2 explains a broad range of direct care labor rights and responsibilities under Colorado labor law, as well as points specific to direct care work, such as the base wage rate requirement, differences in break times and overtime pay for certain worker types.
The KNOWLEDGE sheets also link to DLSS’s INFO sheets (Interpretive Notice & Formal Opinion), which offer more in-depth information about Colorado wage and hour laws and regulations.
- Educational Videos
Are you a direct care worker who would like to know more about your rights under Colorado law? You have a few options. You can watch our informational videos about certain topics shown in the links below. In the future, we will post webinars in this space and provide in-person and webinar presentations, as shown on the calendar below.
Base Wage Rate
- Direct Care Workforce Stabilization Board
On June 5, 2023, Governor Jared Polis signed into law the "Direct Care Workforce Stabilization Board Act," S.B. 23-261, C.R.S. Title 8, Article 7.5. The Act creates a Board to:
- (A) develop recommendations to the Governor and legislature at least every two years, starting September 1, 2024, as to: (1) for minimum direct care employment standards to protect and ensure the health and welfare of workers without impeding the dignity and independence of consumers [...]; (2) on how the state can better communicate information to workers about their rights and the obligations of direct care employers; and (3) at the discretion of the board, for additional types of workers who provide services that are direct care in nature within Colorado's long-term care delivery system;
- (B) investigate: (1) market conditions in direct care in relation to the labor market,[...] (2) other industry models,[…] (3) the impacts of racial and economic injustices on direct care workers and consumers; and (4) the adequacy of reimbursement rates available through the medical assistance program; and
- (C) engage direct care workers, employers, and consumers, through: (A) public meetings and hearings[…] (B) a public education and communication plan[…] ; and (C) notices for employers to provide workers[>…].
Under the Act, the Board has 15 members, with initial appointees selected by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (except for the two representatives of other state departments), for terms of one to three years.
Direct Care Stabilization Board Members:
From several dozen applications, the following 12 individuals have been selected as initial Board members representing employers, employees, and consumers:
The four members representing employers:
- Eliza Schultz, Home Care and Hospice Association of Colorado
- Alexa Cataldo, Sample Supports
- Leslee Torres, Personal Assistance Services of Colorado
- Joseph Shippee, Apollo Home Care Services
The four members representing employees:
- Stephanie Felix-Sowy, SEIU Local 105
- Sandra Sherwood, care worker
- Christina Jackson, care worker
- Earlene Anderson, care worker
The four members representing consumers:
- Julie Reiskin, Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition
- Mary Jo Baudino, care consumer
- Jennifer Ochs, care consumer
- Verna Smith, care consumer
The members representing government agencies:
- Katherine Keegan, Director of the Office of the Future of Work, CDLE
- Colin Laughlin, Deputy Office Director, HCP
- Steve Cox, Home Care Services Section Manager, CDPHE
Direct Care Events Calendar:
If you suspect your employer has violated Colorado Wage & Hour laws, please file a claim. If you have questions about what wage and hour law requires or about any other matters the Division may handle, please contact us by email or 303-318-8441.