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DOL Home Care Wage Rule Enforcement Begins

November 12, 2015

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on November 12 will begin a period of exercising “prosecutorial discretion” in enforcing a rule change extending minimum-wage and overtime pay to home care workers.

The rule change, finalized by DOL in September 2013, was originally scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2015. But a series of legal challenges from the home care industry delayed implementation while the legality of the temporarily vacated rule change was disputed in federal courts.

In August 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld the rule change. Then, on October 6, U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts declined the home care industry’s motion to stay that decision, effectively opening the door to implementation.

Although the rule change officially took effect October 13, actual enforcement begins today, November 12. However, through the end of the year, the DOL said it will use “prosecutorial discretion in determining whether to bring enforcement actions.”

In doing so, the DOL will give “particular consideration…to the extent to which States and other entities have made good faith efforts to bring their home care programs into compliance with the FLSA since the promulgation of the Final Rule.”

Some states have already taken steps toward implementation. Earlier in November, California announced that it will begin next February to pay time-and-a-half overtime wages to home care workers employed through the state’s In-Home Supportive Services program. The latest state budget allots $270 million to cover the costs of those wages.

Additionally, the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services has requested $6.5 million from the state to cover the costs of implementation.

Full implementation of the DOL home care rule begins January 1, 2016.

— by Matthew Ozga

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