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Duties of a Companion Senior Home-Care Worker

Posted by HomeWork Solutions on Oct 21, 2013 3:26:00 PM
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Employment law, wage and hour law, and payroll tax requirements for privately employed senior caregivers are governed by a complex assortment of Federal and state rules and legislation. The scope of duties is used on the Federal level to distinguish companionship care - exempt from Federal minimum wage and overtime protections - from other domestic services that do enjoy FLSA protections.

Effective January 1, 2015 new definitions and regulations within the FLSA go into effect that significantly narrow the number of senior careworkers who can be classified as a companion and remain exempt from Federal minimum wage and overtime protections.

In brief, no individual employed by a home care agency may be classified as a companion - only individuals who are directly employed by a private family may qualify.

Because the scope of duties of an exempt companion have been narrowed to fellowship and protection, with no more than 20% of the caregiver's time being aloted to care services (bathing, dressing, grooming). An exempt companion may have NO general household tasks assigned. A senior home care worker who performs any general household services or spends greater than 20% of their time providing personal care services is an hourly employee subject to the FLSA's minimum wage and overtime protections.

So what duties constitute "companionship care"?
(Blue Check Marks)

Service

Companion

Homemaker

Senior Caregiver/
Personal Care

Companionship/Conversation

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Entertainment – games, reading, puzzles

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Share meals - light preparation

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Arrange/accompany visits, religious services

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Arrange/accompany appointments

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Monitor diet, medications

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Assist/organize calendar, mail, bills

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Household tasks – laundry, linens, vacuum,
dusting

 

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Meal planning, preparation and clean up

 

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Grocery shopping, prescription pickup,
errands

 

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Grooming and dressing

 

 

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Eating, feeding

 

 

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Mobility

 

 

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Bathing

 

 

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Incontinence support care

 

 

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Note:

Blue-CheckIndicates services typically provided as "companionship care." Homecare workers employed by a private family who provide these services will be considered an exempt companion. Exempt companions may be paid any amount by a private household that is mutually agreeable, without concern for minimum wage and overtime. These payments are wages and subject to household employment taxes.

Red-CheckWhoa! Indicates general household services. If a homecare worker provides ANY of these services they are ineligible for the companionship exemption and have the same hourly pay rates, minimum wage and overtime coverage as other domestic service workers such as nannies.

Orange-CheckCaution! Indicates personal care services. A homecare worker employed by a private household may provide these services and still be considered an exempt companion so long as no more than 20% of the caregiver's time is devoted to these services. If these duties constitute more than 20% of the daily activities , the senior homecare worker must be paid an hourly wage and be in compliance with minimum wage and overtime regulations.

GUIDE TO PRIVATELY EMPLOYING SENIOR HOME CARE

01/2014

Other Resources:

Companionship Care: Minimum Wage and Overtime by State
Overtime Rules for Senior Caregivers
Payroll for Privately Employed Senior Caregivers
FAQ: Privately Employed Senior Caregivers

Topics: companionship services, companionship exemption, senior home care, senior home-care workers

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