A federal district court ruled October 15, 2018 that a senior caregiver couple's unpaid overtime claim against the estate of their deceased employer may proceed.
According to the facts presented, the couple's duties included general household maintenance, grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning as well as senior caregiving tasks such as bathing and dressing, attention to the employer's medical needs including physical therapy and transportation to medical appointments.
- Domestic service workers are employees and under the FLSA must be paid an hourly rate for every hour they work,
- Domestic service workers are employees and as such the employer is responsible for the payment of Social Security, Medicare and unemployment taxes,
- All live-out or come-and-go domestic service workers are entitled to overtime for hours worked in a work week that exceed 40, and many states extend the overtime coverage to live-in domestic service workers,
- And the definition of "companionship services," as redefined in 2015, excludes employees who provide any type of general household work. This is important as true "companionship services" employees are excluded from minimum wage and overtime protections of the FLSA. In the case of the senior caregiving couple, it appears on the face that they were not in fact engaged in true "companionship services" as defined by the FLSA.
The HWS Hourly Pay Rate Calculator exists to help families and their advisers properly translate a weekly wage into appropriate hourly and overtime rates to facilitate FLSA compliance and help avoid these type of civil actions after the fact. This points out the importance of a well written compensation agreement with all household service workers.