DOL Announces Delay to Home Care Worker Wage Regulations
- October 17, 2014
Last October, the federal Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division sent shockwaves through the home health care industry by issuing final rules declaring most of its employees to be subject to FLSA minimum wage and overtime rules. The regulation distinguished these employees from those eligible to claim the FLSA’s companionship exemption. The new rule is set to take effect January 1, 2015.
On October 7, DOL announced its intent not to seek full enforcement of the new rule until January 1, 2016. While the final rule will take effect as scheduled, DOL will use its discretion not to bring enforcement actions against employers in states that are moving toward compliance with the rules. State governments have struggled with anticipated higher Medicaid program costs resulting from increased labor expenses under the new rule. The delay is primarily intended to allow states to make the transition to the new cost structure.
Republican legislators have repeatedly pushed DOL to further delay the rules, noting the possible disruption of care resulting from programs and individuals who can no longer afford home care if minimum wage and overtime rules are applied.