DOL Sets Its Sights on Misclassification of Home Care Workers 

home care worker with elderly man

 

From The National Law Review, Epstein Becker & Green report that the United States Department of Labor (DOL) has targeted home care agencies and expect employers to comply with a rule issued in 2013 which the DOL began to fully enforce in 2016.  They report:

In case you missed it, last week the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) blogged about the misclassification of workers in the home care industry.  As a reminder, on October 1, 2013, the DOL issued its home care final rule, which (1) more narrowly defines the tasks that comprise exempt “companionship service” and (2) limits the exemptions for companionship services and live-in domestic service employees to individuals, families, or households using the service, and no longer extends such exemptions to third-party employers such as home health care agencies.  As of January 1, 2016, the DOL began to fully enforce this rule.

The DOL touts its “unprecedented efforts” to assist employers in preparing for compliance with its home care final rule and refers employers to the administrator’s interpretation issued last summer that distinguishes “independent contractors” from “employees” and broadly defines the latter term.  Home care agencies should be aware that the DOL has targeted enforcement in the industry and will expect employers to be fully conversant in the new rule.

Read the full story at DOL Sets Its Sights on Misclassification of Home Care Workers 

In it’s blog, the DOL writes:

In the home care industry, we’ve worked hard to update the rules to guarantee minimum wage and overtime protections. We’ve done this because the workers who take care of our loved ones deserve fundamental wage guarantees, and because those who rely on their services deserve a stable and professional workforce that allows them to remain in their homes and communities.

Since our home care final rule was published more than two years ago, we have made unprecedented efforts to help employers prepare for compliance. As of Jan. 1, 2016, the rule is being fully enforced and we are working to ensure that basic wage rights are guaranteed to those they are intended to protect. Employers should use care to ensure their workers are properly classified and that employees are paid at least the minimum wage and overtime.

To provide clarity for all employers, last summer we published guidance in the form of an administrator’s interpretation to explain what distinguishes an employee from a bona fide independent contractor. We want everyone to have a clear understanding of the rules so that they can follow them.

And we’re not alone in combating misclassification: state labor agencies share our commitment. To date, we have a memorandum of understanding with 28 states to help us work together to put an end to it.

In the home care industry, as in all industries, the blurring of employment relationships shifts risks onto the most vulnerable employees. But new business models should never operate at the expense of workers’ rights. We in the Wage and Hour Division applaud the hard work of direct care givers in the home care field, and remain dedicated to ensuring their right to a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

Read the full blog at Misclassification and Home Care Workers

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