Labor Department Sends Home Health Companionship Final Rule to OMB

Late last month, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) sent a memo to members of Congress stating that the rule that would extend federal minimum wage and overtime protections to in-home health care workers, is pending in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

DOL has finished reviewing the 9,000 public comments on the proposed rule, which was issued on December 27, 2011 and has prepared a draft final rule that has been accepted by OMB, normally the final step before a rule is published. OMB now has 90 days to issue the final rule.

The rule would apply new federal wage and hour regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act requiring that many domestic workers no longer be considered exempt from minimum wage and overtime rules to nearly 1.8 million workers.

In brief, the proposed rule:

  • Adds home health aides and personal care aides as subject to federal minimum wage and overtime rules and more narrowly defines the current wage and hour exemption for “companionship services” to “the provision of fellowship and protection.”
  • Limits the amount of other work done by a person under the “companionship services” exemption to “20 percent incidental and occasional services such as dressing, grooming, toileting, driving to appointments, feeding, laundry, bathing.”
  • Clarifies that “companionship services” do not include the performance of medically related tasks for which training is typically required.

HCAF submitted comments to the proposed rule on March 8, 2012. Click here to review these comments.

HCAF will continue to monitor the Federal Register for the final rule and keep members informed.

Call to Action

Click here to send a message to Congress urging the preservation of the companionship services exemption. The timing is critical, so encourage your colleagues to take action, too!

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