Agency Senior Home-Care Workers About to Become More Expensive
The Obama Department of Labor has been working for the last four years to include senior home-care workers employed by third parties under the Fair Labor Standards Act's minimum wage and overtime provisions. There was also a parallel effort to redefine the services a bona fide senior companion caregiver could provide to align with the Congress' intent of the 1974 expansion of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The home care industry went to court to block the January 1, 2015 implementation of the new rules, and a Federal District issued an injunction and ruled for the industry. Upon appeal, Home Care Association of America v. Weil the US District Court of Appeals ruled in the Department of Labor's favor on Friday, August 21, 2015, clearing the way for enactment of the final rule.
Important to note there is a limited exemption for senior home-care workers directly employed by the care recipient or their family. Privately employing the senior caregiver may become a much more attractive option for families whose aging loved ones want to age in place and avoid institutionalization.
- All senior home-care workers employed by third party agencies will be entitled to overtime and minimum wage protections. This is considered a win for the senior home care workers, many of whom provide care that helps the senior age in place and avoid an institutionalized setting.
- Senior home-care workers employed directly by the care recipient or their family (privately employed senior caregivers) who provide any general household services such as laundering linens, vacuuming, dusting, etc. will also be entitled to overtime and minimum wage protections.
- Only senior home-care workers who are employed directly by the care recipient or their family that provide NO general household services AND spend no more than 20% of their working time performing personal care services (assistance with grooming, bathing, toileting, etc.) will qualify for the modified "companionship exemption" and can be paid any amount mutually agreeable irrespective of minimum wage and overtime.
We know this can be confusing, and are happy to offer free consultation to families, senior home-care referral registries, and senior home-care agencies.