Court Ruling Allows Home Care Workers to Receive Minimum Wage, Overtime

The D.C. Court of Appeals has upheld the U.S. Labor Department’s Home Care Final Rule, which prohibits home care agencies and other third party employers from claiming companionship or live-in worker exemptions.

The Labor Department also redefined “companionship services” and narrowed the duties covered by that term, leading to more domestic service workers protected by the Fair labor Standards Act’s overtime and minimum wage language.

The new definition now says that exemptions for companionship services and live-in domestic service employees can be claimed only be the individual, family or household using the services rather than home healthcare agencies and other third parties. The final rule also modifies the record keeping requirements for employers of live-in domestic service employees.

“Companionship services” is defined as providing fellowship and protection for an older adult or person with a disability, illness or injury who requires assistance. Home care agencies have said the new rule will result in fewer older adults being able to receive care in their homes.

The new rule is expected to take effect Jan. 1, 2016.

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