Small Business Administration Urges Labor Department to Review Impact of Minimum Wage and Overtime Requirements for Companion Care Workers

The Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration submitted comments this week to the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor regarding its proposed rule that would remove the companionship services exemption for third parties, including home care agencies and nurse registries. Small business representatives have told the Office of Advocacy they want DOL to seek regulatory alternatives to this rule, which are laid out in their comments.

After hosting a roundtable with stakeholders, the Office of Advocacy determined that participants believe that DOL’s proposal will have a significant impact on small businesses in the companion care industry. According to the letter, small business representatives recommend that DOL reevaluate the private-pay sector of the companion care industry. Industry representatives presented new surveys showing that there are a large number of small companion care businesses in the private-pay sector, and this data shows that a substantial portion of companion care services are provided by the private-pay sector.

Small business representatives at Advocacy’s roundtable also discussed alternatives to this rulemaking that may minimize costs, including provisions from state laws on companion care workers. These alternatives include:

  1. Allow Third Party Employers to Utilize Exemption for Live-In Workers
  2. Calculate Nighttime Hours Differently
  3. Calculate Overtime Hours at Reduced Rate
  4. Clarify that Registries Are Not Third Party Employers
  5. Delay Compliance Time/ Effective Date

The deadline for comments on the proposed rule is March 21, 2012. HCAF submitted comments earlier this week on behalf of Florida home care providers.

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