NAHC and Other Advocacy Organizations File Lawsuit Against Department of Labor’s Companionship and Live-in Rules
Legal Action Aims to Protect and Preserve Access to High Quality Home Care Services for Patients and to Maintain Take Home Pay for Home Care Workers
The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) recently filed a lawsuit that aims to overturn the new Department of Labor rules restricting the application of the companionship services and live-in exceptions to minimum wage and overtime compensation requirements. Three plaintiffs, the Home Care Association Of America, the International Franchise Association, and the National Association For Home Care & Hospice have filed suit against the U.S. Department Of Labor seeking declaratory and injunctive relief for the Department’s violation of Federal law. The new rules are scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2015.
Under the Department of Labor’s new companionship rule, “companionship services” has been redefined to be limited to “fellowship”, “protection”, and limited direct personal care. Personal care-related services are limited to no more than 20 percent of the hours worked. Under this definition, the vast majority of Medicaid personal care services will be subject to minimum wage and overtime requirements. Private pay home care impact will vary on a client-specific basis. It is also highly likely that virtually all private pay services will be affected by the new rule.
The revised standards for the exemptions also exclude their application to employees employed by home care agencies (“third-party employers”). The modified “companionship services” exemption along with the live-in domestic services exemption will apply for workers directly employed by the client or a family member. That still causes a negative impact on so-called consumer-directed care because of the new, limited definition of companionship.
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