As of January 1, 2015, the Final Rule created under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) will require most direct care workers to receive federal minimum wage and overtime pay protections. Direct care workers are workers who provide home care services, such as home health aides, personal care aides, senior caregivers, and companions. The Final Rule contains several significant FLSA changes affecting caregivers and employers, including the following:
1. The Department of Labor defines “companionship services” by the duties that home care services cover, including:
- Engaging the person in social, physical, and mental activities including reading, games, running errands, and social events.
- Activities of daily living such as dressing, grooming, feeding, and bathing.
- Instrumental activities of daily living such as meal preparation, driving, light housework, and arranging medical care.
The definition of companionship services does not include providing medically related services which are typically performed by trained personnel.
2. Who can claim the overtime exemption?
Exemptions for companionship services and live-in home care workers are limited to the individual, family, or household using the services. Third-party employers (home care agencies) will not be able to claim a minimum wage or overtime exemption. Workers are only exempt if they are employed solely by a home care recipient, that person’s family member, or private household, and spends 20% or less of their weekly hours per care recipient on daily living activities.
3. Recordkeeping requirements have been revised as follows:
- Individuals and private households that employ live-in home care workers can claim the overtime exemption for live-in domestic workers. However, if they reside in a state whose Department of Labor has dictated an overtime wage law, they must follow their state’s overtime regulations.
- Third party employers like home care agencies cannot claim the overtime exemption and are required to pay employees at least the federal minimum wage and overtime pay for all hours worked.
For more information about the Final Rule under the FLSA, visit the Department of Labor website.