Last year the Department of Labor announced a final rule that extended minimum wage and overtime protections to home care workers – the same protections provided to most U.S. workers, including those who perform the same work in nursing homes. At that time, Secretary Perez said, “Today we are taking an important step toward guaranteeing that these professionals receive the wage protections they deserve while protecting the right of individuals to live at home.”
While the effective date will remain January 1, 2015 for the home care final rule, the department also announced a time-limited, non-enforcement policy with respect to the requirements under the rule. For six months, from January 1, 2015 to June 30, 2015, the department will not bring enforcement actions against any employer who fails to comply with a Fair Labor Standards Act obligation newly imposed by the rule. During the subsequent six months, from July 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015, the department will exercise its discretion in determining whether to bring enforcement actions, giving strong consideration to the extent to which states and other entities have made good faith efforts to bring their home care programs into FLSA compliance.
“We have consistently emphasized the importance of implementing the rule in a manner that both protects consumers and expands wage protections for direct care workers,” wrote Dr. Weil and Fortman. “We believe this non-enforcement policy will help achieve both of those goals.”