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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

Federal Court Strikes Down DOL Minimum Wage Rule for Home Care Workers

January 29, 2015 | Workforce | Comments
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Earlier this month, a federal court effectively invalidated the Department of Labor’s home care rule extending minimum wage and overtime protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to almost 2 million home care workers. Home care workers play an important role in the lives of those with disabilities, ensuring that individuals who receive home care services are not at risk of institutionalization or segregation. The final rule had been slated to go into effect on January 1, 2015.

This ruling was brought on by home care trade associations who protested the new definitions of companionship in the final rule and a ban preventing third-party employers from claiming the FLSA companionship exemption. The court agreed with the plaintiffs that the language of the exemption clearly states that companionship services are services provided to elderly or disabled individuals who are “unable to care for themselves.”

The Department of Labor filed an appeal and, in a statement, said it strongly disagrees with the ruling and believes the final rule is legally sound and is the right policy.  The Court of Appeals has ordered that the appeal to proceed on an expedited schedule, with next steps to be completed by early April.

Before this ruling, federal agencies had been grappling with how to properly implement these decisions to be compliant with the Olmstead decision. See our Capitol Connector coverage of that here.