Home Health Groups Ask Supreme Court to Halt Wage Rules

Home health providers may soon see the fate of a controversial rule impacting wages decided by the highest court in the country.

In an 11th-hour move, home health associations have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to step in before federal minimum wage and overtime rules go into effect for home health workers.

Last week, in an emergency application to Chief Justice John Roberts, three industry trade groups requested a stay of a U.S. Department of Labor rule. The groups claim the rule threatens “irreparable harm to the operations of home care providers and millions of elderly and disabled individuals, many of whom will lose access to vitally needed home care services as a result,” CBS Moneywatch reported Tuesday.

The Department of Labor rule is scheduled to take effect on Oct. 13, following an August ruling from a federal appeals court that found the DOL has the authority to extend wage and overtime protections to home care workers. That ruling overturned a previous ruling that the DOL had overstepped its authority in seeking to extend the regulations. The rule is expected to impact about 2 million workers.

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice and its co-plaintiffs filed the emergency application.

In a video posted to the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHCH) website, NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris discussed the association’s stance on the companionship exemption and the association’s past with the Supreme Court.

“We have won before the U.S. Supreme Court twice before, on these very issues, on these very facts,” Halamandaris says in the video. “We’ve won before, and we intend to win again, and I am certain — I’m giving you my word on it — we will win yet again.”

A federal judge in Colorado recently ruled that home health workers employed by a third-party agency must be paid overtime in that state.

Written by Mary Kate Nelson