States Disagree Over Home Care Minimum Wage Rule

States’ views on minimum wage increases for home health care workers continue to differ, as nine states recently voiced opposition to the minimum wage rule that four other states recently said they support.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt recently asked a federal appeals court to reject U.S. Department of Labor regulations that “threaten the availability of home health care services in Kansas,” media report. Schmidt was joined on the brief by eight other state attorneys general.

In 2013, the DOL issued a final rule that changed the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), under which home health agencies would no longer be able to claim certain wage exemptions for workers. The rule would have boosted wages for a substantial portion of the nation’s home care workforce.

However, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon later struck down the rule, saying that the DOL had exceeded its authority in issuing it, and that Congress has to enact such changes in the FLSA.

New York, Illinois, Massachusetts and New Mexico filed an amicus brief to disagree with Leon’s assessment, arguing that the DOL has the authority to issue the rule to address the “vast expansion” in the number of home care workers employed by agencies since the FLSA was first enacted four decades ago. Since then, Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland, and Minnesota have signed on to the amicus brief.

The nine states that filed in opposition of the DOL’s ruling are Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Dakota, Texas, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

Those in opposition of minimum wage expansion argue “that the new rules regarding the types of services home health care workers may provide undermines Congress’ policy objective of allowing seniors to receive care in their homes to avoid needing more costly institutional care,” media report.

Read more about Schmidt’s request to void home health regulations here.

Written by Cassandra Dowell