Tuesday, September 17, 2013
The Department of Labor has just announced a significant change for home-health care workers. As many readers know, these workers have thus far been excluded from the FLSA minimum wage and, more importantly, overtime protections. Under the rule, home care workers will no longer be treated as excluded babysitters and others who provide "companionship services" under the FLSA. However, perhaps recognizing the impact of the change, the rule isn't to take effect until January 1, 2015 (that's not a typo).
This change was propsed in 2011 as part of the rulemaking process. The operative part of the rule, described by Steven Greenhouse in a NY Times article:
Under the new rule, any home care aides hired through home care companies or other third-party agencies cannot be exempt from minimum wage and overtime coverage. The exemptions for aides who mainly provide “companionship services” — defined as fellowship and protection for an elderly person or person with an illness, injury or disability who requires assistance — are limited to the individual, family or household using the services.
If an aide or companion provides “care” that exceeds 20 percent of the total hours er or she works each week, then the worker is to receive minimum wage and overtime protections.