Reps. Posey and Deutch Stress Concerns with Companionship Services Exemption Proposed Rule to DOL

Last week, U.S. Representatives Bill Posey (R-Rockledge) and Ted Deutch (D-Boca Raton) sent letters to U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Secretary Hilda Solis stressing concerns about the DOL’s companionship services exemption proposed rule. Earlier this month, Florida Senators Bill Nelson (D) and Marco Rubio (R) co-signed a letter with 20 other senators that successfully called for an extention of the proposal’s comment period, which ends on March 14.

The DOL’s proposal would require third-party employers such as home care agencies to pay minimum wage and overtime for workers who provide in-home care services. Currently, workers classified as “companions” are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage and overtime pay requirements.

Congressman Posey’s letter asked DOL to extend the comment period for stakeholders to weigh-in on the impacts of the proposal. The original deadline was Feb. 27th, but the DOL obliged and extended the deadline an addition 14 days to March 12.

In Congressman Deutch’s letter, he wrote that “an abrupt elimination of the companionship exemption for third-party employers without a more robust change in the payment system would likely result in a restructuring of hours to avoid overtime liability”, which would mean more workers cycling through a person’s home who aren’t as familiar with the patient/client’s needs, and potentially “reducing the quality of care they receive.” The letter asks DOL to further examine the potential effects on workers, the long-term care system and seniors and individuals who will be impacted by the regulation.

HCAF appreciates Congressmen Posey and Deutch’s efforts to protect high quality home care for Floridians! Click here to show your appreciation to Reps. Posey and Deutch by signing a thank you note.

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