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The U.S. Department of Labor announced a final rule extending the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage and overtime protections to direct care workers such as home health aides, personal care aides and certified nursing assistants. It affects nearly 2 million workers.
“In home care, it’s a huge impact for anyone providing direct care services through home care,” said Char Talmadge, senior director of business development for Interim Healthcare’s staffing division.
Although the ruling significantly impacts home health care businesses, it likely has limited impact on staffing firms.
“Its really outside of what we consider staffing or healthcare staffing,” said Talmadge. “The business service which would be impacted by this exemption law would fall under our home care license.”
Interim’s staffing division only goes into homes when subcontracting with a hospice or a homecare company, she said.
“They have the license. We’re providing the talent — such as a home health aide — through a staffing division to that home health company,” said Talmadge. “Regardless of what they are doing, they are still an hourly employee of the staffing firm so they would be compensated for overtime after the applicable number of hours.”
Fifteen states already extend state minimum wage and overtime protections to direct care workers, and an additional six states and the District of Columbia mandate state minimum wage protections.
The final rule also clarifies that direct care workers who perform medically-related services for which training is typically a prerequisite are not companionship workers and therefore are entitled to the minimum wage and overtime. Individual workers who are employed only by the person receiving services or that person’s family and primarily providing companionship-related services — such as fellowship, protection, visiting or engaging in hobbies — and care incidental to such activities will still be considered exempt from the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime protections.