On December 15, 2011 the U.S. Department of Labor announced a proposed rule that would extend minimum wage and overtime protections to home care workers. Currently, the Fair Labor Standards Act exempts “companionship services” from its requirements, which has been interpreted to exempt home care workers. The new rules would limit the companionship exemption to “fellowship” and “protection,” which would include activities such as playing cards, visiting with friends, and taking walks. There are also related changes proposed to record-keeping requirements and the treatment of home care workers employed by third parties.
We anticipate that the proposed rules will be published in the Federal Register soon, at which time the public will have 60 days to comment. We will continue to monitor the rulemaking process and will provide a detailed update of the final rules, if and when they are promulgated.