Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), workers are entitled to minimum wage and overtime protections unless specifically exempted. This coverage extends to so-called “domestic” workers such as cooks, housekeepers, maids, and gardeners who are employed directly by households in domestic services. However, certain domestic workers who provide “companionship services” to elderly persons or persons will illnesses, injuries, or disabilities were exempted by Congress from FLSA.
Recently, more and more individuals choose to receive services at home rather than in nursing homes and institutions. Workers who provide these home care services are typically certified nursing assistants, home health aides, personal care aides, and caregivers. They are, for the most part, professional caregivers. Therefore, the Department of Labor revised its regulations to address the current situation.
Under DOL’s revised FLSA regulations, an individual, family, or household who employs a worker providing companionship services to an elderly person or person with illness, injury or disability may only claim an exemption from FLSA if the employee provides fellowship (engaging the person in social, physical and mental activities) and protection (to be present with the person in his or her home or to accompany the person outside to monitor his or her safety and well-being). The exempt worker may also provide care (such as dressing, grooming, feeding, bathing, meal preparation, driving, light housework, managing finances, assistance with medical care and medications), but such care cannot exceed 20 percent of the total hours worked by the employee per workweek. If the employee provides care that exceeds 20 percent of his or her total work hours per workweek, then the employee is covered by FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime protections.
Live-in Domestic Service Employees
Employees providing domestic services in a private home who reside on the employer’s premises are live-in domestic service employees. These employees are considered live-in if they work and sleep in the employer’s home on a permanent basis or for extended periods of time. These employees are exempt from the overtime employment, but they must be paid at least the Federal minimum wage for all hours worked. If the employee is employed by a third-party employer, such as a home care agency, then he or she is also entitled to both minimum wage and overtime protections under FLSA.
If you are a home care provider that meets the above definitions for coverage, you may qualify for the minimum wage and overtime protections of FLSA under DOL’s homecare regulations. You should call (855) 754-2795 or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form on the top right of this page if you feel that you are being denied minimum wage and overtime. 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.