U.S. Court of Appeals Upholds Wage Parity Law
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled, on Friday, that the State's Wage Parity Law is constitutional and is not preempted by federal law. The Wage Parity Law (section 3614-c of the Public Health Law) establishes a minimum rate of total compensation, based on the New York City Living Wage Law, that must be paid to home care workers in New York City and Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties. In Concerned Home Care Providers vs. Cuomo, several home care agencies and St. Mary's Hospital for Children sought to enjoin the Department of Health from enforcing wage parity. The plaintiffs argued that the law violated their constitutional rights to equal protection and due process. They also claimed that the law was preempted by ERISA and the National Labor Relations Act. The Second Circuit rejected all of their claims, upholding the District Court's decision in its entirety.1
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1 The District Court held that one provision of the law related to health benefits administered by a Taft-Hartley plan is preempted by ERISA. The State did not appeal this aspect of the decision, and the Second Circuit did not disturb the lower court's ruling.