NAHC Files Lawsuit Against DOL Companionship Rules

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice and two other advocacy organizations have filed a lawsuit aiming to overturn a law by the U.S. Department of Labor, which they suggest has a negative impact on consumer-directed home care.

The NAHC, Home Care Association of America and the International Franchise Association have filed suit against the DOL, challenging the department’s changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act “companionship exemption” rule, under which those who provide direct care will receive federal minimum wage and overtime protections.

“The rule change will reduce consumer’s care options, increase their costs, and limit the availability of essential caregivers,” the NAHC writes. “Workers will be harmed as well, relegated to part-time work even where they prefer full-time employment.”

Under the new companionship rule, set to take effect Jan. 1, 2015, “companionship services” has been redefined to be limited to “fellowship,” “protection” and limited direct personal care. Personal care-related services are limited to no more than 20% of the hours worked. 

“Our industry is already struggling with high turnover rates and a cut in pay puts us at the bottom of the list of desirable work,” Lucy Andrews said in her testimony during a hearing before the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections in November 2013. “Ultimately, it impacts access to the care that the increasing numbers of Baby Boomers and the disabled community rely on to stay at home.”

With their lawsuit, filed June 6, NAHC, Home Care Association of America and the International Franchise Association hope to prevent the changes to the law from taking effect. 

“Given that the new companionship and live-in rules will severely hinder access to home care services, hurt the livelihoods of home care workers, and create cost burdens for already strapped government-funded programs, advocacy organizations … have all asked the Department of Labor to reconsider the new rule and delay its implementation.”

To read the NAHC’s memo on the lawsuit, click here

Written by Emily Study