US House Subcommittee Has Hearing on Effects of Labor Dept.’s Final Rule on the Companionship Services Exemption

On Wednesday, the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections held a hearing analyzing the potential implications of the final rule released by the US Department of Labor (DOL) making changes to the companionship services exemption. The most significant change comes in the form of home care employees who provide companionship services will be required to be paid overtime wages for any work completed over 40 hours per week.

Subcommittee Chair Tim Walberg (R-MI) stated that he had asked the DOL for the justification for the final rule, but had not received a response. Chair Walberg claimed the rule created “rigid and arbitrary” requirements for home care agencies and hurts all players in the industry more than it helps.

Lucy Andrews, Vice-Chair of the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, explained how the new rule would be detrimental to employees, patients, and providers of home care.

When presented with the idea that the new rule is suggested to reduce the amount of turnover for these employees, Ms. Andrews testified that the rule would have the opposite effect, with employees receiving less hours under the new rule and seeking employment at multiple agencies.

Despite the multitude of concerns expressed by several witnesses, most feel the Department of Labor is unlikely to rescind the rule.

HCAF will continue to take measures to fight against the DOL’s final rule on the companionship services exemption in order to protect patients, employees, and operators in our industry.

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