COLUMBUS, Ohio — A home health aide who worked for Americare Healthcare Services, Inc., filed suit against her employer for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) minimum wage and overtime provisions. Americare provides home health aides to clients who due to age or illness require assistance in their homes. According to the plaintiff, she provided light housekeeping, personal care, and companionship services to Americare’s clients and typically worked 70 hours per week. Americare filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff was not covered by FLSA.
Generally, companionship service providers are exempt from the minimum wage and overtime provisions of FLSA. Companionship services include fellowship, care, and protection for a person who, because of advanced age or physical or mental illness, cannot care for his or her own needs. Household work may be part of companionship services if it is related to the care of the person such as meal preparation, bed making, or washing of clothes. However, if household work is unrelated to the care of the client and exceeds 20% of the total weekly hours worked by the employee, then he or she is covered by FLSA and entitled to minimum wage and overtime.
In this case, the plaintiff argues that her household work sometimes benefited a client’s family members which exceeded 20% of the total weekly hours she worked and, therefore, she was not exempt from FLSA under the companionship services exemption. However, the court found that there was no evidence to support the plaintiff’s claims. Therefore, the court found that she fell under the companionship service providers exemption and was not entitled to minimum wage and FLSA.
New Home Health Care Rule
Recently the Department of Labor issued a Home Care Final Rule to extend minimum wage and overtime protections under FLSA to home care workers. With the new home care regulations, the DOL redefined companionship services so that many direct care workers, such as certified nursing assistants, home health aides, personal care aides, and other caregivers will now be protected by FLSA. The Department also revised the regulations concerning live-in domestic service workers. These new regulations took effect last November 12, 2015.
Under the new Home Care rules issued by DOL, live-in home health care providers are likely going to be protected by FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime provisions. You should call (855) 754-2795 or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form on the top right of this page if you are a home health care provider who is being deprived of minimum wage and overtime pay. Our top-rated team of wage lawyers will evaluate your situation to determine your best course of action. We will also determine if it is in your best interest to file a lawsuit against your employer. There are strict time limitations for filing, so it is important that you call our experienced attorneys today.