GREAT NEWS FOR HOME HEALTH WORKERS! The Court of Appeals has decided that the previous exemption of the Fair Labor Standards Act for third-party employers of certain home health care workers no longer applies. The decision Home Care Association of American v. Weil has made it possible for the government to enforce minimum wage and overtime pay laws for a home health care workers that used to be exempt from such benefits. The decision means that there could be potential change in this industry because it make third-party home health care employers to take another look their pay practices and how they will conduct their businesses in the long-term.
The Fair Labor Standards Act except with specific exemptions requires employers and businesses to pay minimum wage and time and a half for overtime pay benefits to all of their workers. One of these exemptions previously applied to “companionship services” provided by “domestic service” workers who provide basic care for the elderly, ill, or disabled in their homes. A domestic service worker used to be exempt from these benefits no matter what company or business employed these workers. Domestic services increasingly have been provided by employees of third-party health care providers.
The Department of Labor which enforces laws and regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act has issued a rule that third party employers could no longer invoke the “companionship services” exemption for its domestic service employees. Health care companies challenged this new rule by the Department of Labor and had it overturned. The District of Columbia District Court overturned the rule stating that the Department of Labor could not overturn the exemption because it has operated that way for decades. Then on August 21, the DC Court of Appeals reversed that decision stating that the Department of Labor has the authority to make changes to the exemption such as excluding third party providers.
Approximately two million home care employees who work for home health providers will now be eligible for minimum wage and overtime pay benefits. Home health companies and employers should educate themselves about this new ruling and seek advice if needed about how best to begin these Fair Labor Standards Act practices for their employees. Unless there is a stay pending further appeal, the regulations are scheduled to go into effect on October 13, 2015.
Even though we all work hard for our money and to support our families and the ones we love, some employees in the past have been exempt from minimum wage and overtime pay benefits. Some employers and businesses even misclassify their workers so that they will be exempt from these rights. If you or someone you work with feels you have been wrongly denied your overtime pay or minimum wage benefits, then you should talk to a minimum wage and overtime pay lawyer with the Higgins Firm. We will review your case, answer any questions you may and make sure you receive any compensation you may be entitled to for the hours you have worked.
If you are a home health worker or another employee that was previously exempt from these benefits and you want to know how this decision may affect you or your case or you feel that you have been denied these benefits, then you should contact a minimum wage and overtime pay lawyer at the Higgins Firm. We will answer any questions you may and make sure that you are getting the benefits that are rightfully yours by law.
Please contact us today online or by calling 800.705.2121 to discuss your legal options.