Florida Senators Ask Labor Department to Extend Deadline on Companion Services Exemption Regulation

HCAF is pleased to let you know that our efforts to secure Florida’s two U.S. Senators support was successful! Today both signed a letter with Senate colleagues to be sent to U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis regarding the companionship services exemption proposed rule.

Senators Bill Nelson (D) and Marco Rubio (R) urged Secretary Solis to extend the proposed rule’s comment period, which ends Feb. 27th, for 60 more days. This is a major step toward protecting the business of private duty agencies and nurse registries, and HCAF will monitor the outcome of this letter after the Labor department has reviewed it.

On Dec. 27th, the  DOL released the proposed regulation that, if finalized, will eliminate the companionship services exemption from the minimum wage and overtime compensation requirements. Home care providers that use the exemption with personal care aides, home care aides and home health aides would no longer have that option under the proposed rule.

In the letter to Secretary Solis, the senators express concern that the timing of the proposed rule (released during the holiday season) does not give stakeholders ample time to examine the rule’s impact and submit comments. Furthermore, the senators estimate that removing the exemption would cost providers $100 million annually.

The letter, which was signed by Republicans and Democrats alike, will be sent to the Labor department at the close of business today.

Thank you to the members who sent a message to our senators urging their signature on this very important letter. HCAF will notify members in the event that the Labor department extends the comment period an additional 60 days.

What’s next?

While we wait for the DOL to consider this request, there is a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that would ensure the current definition of companionship services is maintained. Click here to ask your U.S. representative to cosponsor the Companionship Exemption Protection Act (H.R. 3066).

Providers who are impacted by this proposed regulation are also encouraged to join HCAF in submitting comments to the Department of Labor. Click here for more details.

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