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US Department of Labor Reviewing "Companionship Care" Definitions

Posted by Kathy Webb on 7/26/11 10:39 AM

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as amended in 1974 extended minimum wage and overtime protections to most household workers.

companionship exemptionThe FLSA specifically exempted "companionship care" for individuals who due to advanced age or infirmity required care and companionship to remain in their private home. The Department of Labor defined "companionship care" to incude all workers whose job responsibilities restricted housekeeping duties to less than 20% of their activities.

The US Department of Labor is currently reviewing its definition of "companionship care," and is widely expected to significantly narrow the definition to only include very occasional workers. It is expected that minimum wage and overtime protections of the FLSA will be extended to all home care workers who are employed for more than 5 hours per week. The regulatory change is strongly supported by unions and organizations advocating for the fair compensation and treatment of household workers.

The DOL conducted a 'listening' session yesterday, July 25, and will have a final one hour session Wednesday July 27. At issue is how to balance the needs of the elderly receiving this type of care with the workers' desire for minimum wage and overtime protections. 24/7 care arrangements are the norm in this industry, with 2 or 3 workers commonly covering the needs of an individual.

HomeWork Solutions is following this issue carefully, as our clients employ a significant number of in home elder care workers. Please subscribe to our blog to receive information updates as they become available.


Topics: elder care, senior caregivers, homecare, companionship services, companionship exemption

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