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LETTER to DOL: Don’t Extend the Comment Period

February 15, 2012

Forces within the $84 billion home care industry opposed to the proposed rule extending minimum wage and overtime protections for home care workers are trying to delay the regulatory process–by pressuring the DOL to extend the current 60-day comment period to 90- or 120-days.

PHI’s letter to the DOL opposing the delay appears below.

Learn more at www.companionshipexemption.com.

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Secretary Hilda Solis
U.S. Department of Labor, Room S-3502
200 Constitution Avenue NW.
Washington, DC 20210

Dear Secretary Solis:

I am writing to urge the Department to adhere to its original 60-day comment period for the NPRM (RIN) 1235-AA05, which would narrow the current companionship exemption under the Fair labor Standards Act and extend federal minimum wage and overtime protections to home care workers . We understand that there are some organizations, particularly those opposed to this proposed change, that are urging action to extend the comment period beyond February 27, 2012.

With over 2000 comments submitted to date, we do not believe an extension is needed. You announced that the Department was looking into this issue in 2009 – over two years ago – and it was included in the Spring regulatory agenda in 2010. Furthermore, those requesting the extension have been aware of this issue for at least six years. Along with proponents of the change, opponents gave public testimony at a hearing in October 2007 on the Fair Home Health Care Act – a bill that, if passed, would have similarly narrowed the exemption.

The companionship exemption was included as part of President Obama’s “We Can’t Wait’ agenda, and we wholeheartedly agree. Home care workers have been waiting almost 40 years to receive these basic labor protections. We urge you to close the comment period at the end of this month so the Department can review the comments and proceed with finalizing its policy.

Sincerely,

Carol Regan
PHI Director of Government Affairs

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