Employment Law Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law and HR

Feb 16, 2015

Companionship services regulation effective January 1, 2015, challenged

Wage and Hour 

A federal district court in the District of Columbia has struck down the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)’s new employment regulations that required third-party employers of home care workers to pay minimum wage and overtime effective January 1, 2015.

A federal district court in the District of Columbia has struck down the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)’s new employment regulations that required third-party employers of home care workers to pay minimum wage and overtime effective January 1, 2015. The DOL isn’t backing down, though, and says it will continue to litigate the issue. The court said the agency didn’t have the power to eliminate the existing overtime and minimum wage exemptions for third-party employers. Meanwhile the court also put a temporary hold on the portion of the regulations that significantly narrowed the scope of “companionship services” that are exempt from minimum wage and overtime when performed in the home of a client who is elderly, disabled, ill, or injured (Home Care Association of America v. Weil, D DC, Dec. 2014).

Tips: As we previously reported, the DOL has stated that it will hold off on enforcing the new wage and hour law rules for the first six months of 2015. Until this employment law issue is resolved in the courts, the safest approach for third-party employers is to begin paying minimum wage and overtime for home care workers. Previously exempt home care companions need to be paid overtime at 1.5 times their regular rate of pay unless they spend 20 percent or less of their time per patient per week performing “care” services and do not perform any general household work. For more information, see the DOL’s web page on home care workers or contact your Vigilant employment attorney for employer counsel on home care issues.

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