Round 2.5 – New Home Healthcare Wage Rules to be Effective October 2015

In August, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia approved the new Department of Labor (DOL) rule that will extend minimum wage and overtime coverage to about 2 million workers employed by home healthcare agencies. In doing so, the Court of Appeals overturned a lower court’s decision that held DOL had overstepped its authority when it adopted the rule.

As a result of the Court of Appeals decision, the only in-home workers who will remain “exempt” from the requirements of minimum wage and overtime will be those persons employed directly by a “patient” or the patient’s family to provide companionship services in their home.

The Home Care Association of America which brought this lawsuit asked the Court of Appeals to delay implementation of its decision while the Association filed an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. On September 18, 2015, the Court of Appeals denied this motion to stay the effectiveness of its ruling. As a result, the new DOL rules for home healthcare agencies will go into effect on October 13, 2015. The DOL has said that it will refrain from bringing any enforcement action under the new rules for 30 days after the rules become effective.

Given this turn of events, businesses who send workers to provide companionship and other in-home domestic services must take immediate steps to come into compliance with the new DOL rules which require that these employees be paid both minimum wage and overtime. For assistance with regard to these issues or other wage and hour/overtime issues, please contact any member of Gentry Locke’s Employment practice group.

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