U.S. Department of Labor to End Companionship Exemption – Extend Minimum Wage and Overtime Pay Mandate to Direct Care Workers

The home care industry took yet another hit today. The United States Department of Labor has just announced that effective January 1st, 2015, agencies and other employers of direct care workers who provide home care services (such as certified nursing assistants, home health aides, personal care aides, caregivers, and companions) will will no longer be able to claim the Companion Exemption for live-in domestic service workers. Agencies and third-party employers will be required to pay these staff members the federal minimum wage and overtime pay.

This means live-in workers must be paid no less than the state or federal minimum wage (whichever is higher) and be paid an overtime rate not less than 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for hours worked past 40 hours in one workweek.

The Department of Labor will be holding a free webinar on what to expect with these changes. The webinar will take place Tuesday, October 15th, 2013 from 10:00-11:00AM EST. Registration has not yet opened for the webinar.

HCAF regrets this decision and continues to argue that this ill-guided policy hurts everyone involved; the provider, the direct care worker, and the patient. We are here to answer any questions you may have about this change and how it will affect agencies and employees in the future.

For more information, please see the Department of Labor’s website detailing the changes for home care.

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