For many years, the DOL has recognized an exemption from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for persons employed as domestic companions. The exemption excluded many home care and personal assistance workers, who provided companionship services for the sick and elderly at home, from FLSA’s overtime and minimum wage requirements. A detailed DOL discussion of the existing exemption can be found here: http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs25.pdf. DOL is proposing the change this exemption. Here is DOL’s own summary of its proposed changes: “The Department is proposing to revise the regulations to accomplish two important purposes. First, the Department seeks to more clearly define the tasks that may be performed by an exempt companion. Second, the proposed regulations would limit the companionship exemption to companions employed only by the family or household using the services. Third party employers, such as health care staffing agencies, could not claim the exemption, even if the employee is jointly employed by the third party and the family or household.” A more detailed summary of the proposed DOL changes can be found here: http://www.dol.gov/whd/flsa/whdfs-NPRM-companionship.htm.
January 27, 2012