A judge says the state can pay less money to personal care assistants who care for their relatives.
Lawmakers last year decided to cut the wages of personal care assistants caring for relatives by 20 percent. But a group of them joined several home health agencies in filing a lawsuit over the wage cut.
A judge temporarily blocked the cut after a group of them filed a lawsuit last fall. They argued they were denied equal protection under the law because the wage cut wasn't made to personal care assistants not caring for relatives. But now the judge says the state didn't violate their rights.
"We believe that the law should be found as unconstitutional, and really in violation of equal pay for equal work," said Tim Plant, director of Health Star Home Health, one of the agencies that sued. "Is this the way Minnesotans want to treat our most vulnerable citizens?"
Plant said the agencies plan to appeal the ruling. They're also hoping the Legislature will reverse the wage cut. DFL Gov. Mark Dayton had proposed restoring the relatives' wages this year. But a Republican proposal in the House leaves the wage cut in place.
The cut affects more than 6,000 personal care assistants.