Effective January 1, 2015, many home healthcare workers who are presently exempt, will be subject to the federal minimum wage and overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). In September 2013, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a “Final Rule” redefining several key terms of the FLSA, including “companionship services,” “fellowship and protection” and “care.” In addition, the DOL has limited the applicability of the “companionship services” and “live-in domestic service worker” exemptions by restricting its availability to an “individual, family or household.” Thus, third-party employers, such as home care agencies, will no longer qualify for a companionship services or live-in domestic service worker exemption. Individuals who directly employ eligible home healthcare workers may still qualify for these exemptions.
Although the “Final Rule” has already been issued, the DOL has delayed its effective date until January 1, 2015, to allow an “adjustment” period for employers. Thus, as of January 1, 2015, any employer who no longer qualifies for the above exemptions will be required to pay employees minimum wage (as of January 1, 2015, Arizona minimum wage will be $8.05 per hour), for all hours worked, and overtime for any hours worked over 40 in a workweek.
Home healthcare employees and employers are strongly encouraged to consult an experienced employment attorney to ensure FLSA compliance.