Supreme Court Will Not Delay Home Care Overtime Pay

The Supreme Court has spoken — about 2 million home health workers will indeed be extended overtime and minimum wage protections beginning Oct. 13.

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts denied an emergency request Tuesday from three home care industry trade groups that claimed the rules scheduled to take effect Oct. 13 threaten irreparable damage to businesses that provide in-home care for seniors and the disabled.

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice and its co-plaintiffs requested a delay while the high court considers whether to take up its appeal of a lower court ruling that said the Department of Labor has the authority to change the regulations governing how home workers are paid.

That ruling overturned a prior ruling that the DOL had overstepped its authority in seeking to extend the regulations.

Though the new wage rules take effect on Oct. 13, the DOL has previously said it will not begin enforcement of its regulations until 30 days after the official effective date.

In a statement published to its website on Oct. 6, the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) said it and its co-plaintiffs are evaluating additional litigation options in the case. Currently, the remaining option is to ask the Supreme Court to hear the case on the merits while the new rules are in effect, NAHC said.

NAHC added that it is continuing to pursue legislative relief, but said it is highly unlikely that such relief will occur before Oct. 13.

Meanwhile, PHI Vice President Robert Espinoza praised Justice Roberts’ decision in a prepared statement, calling the extension of federal wage protections to home care workers “a win for all stakeholders.”

“Home care agencies and state Medicaid programs should be preparing – if they have not done so already – to implement the new rule as required by law,” Espinoza said.

Federal law has exempted home care workers hired via staffing companies from overtime and minimum wage pay since 1974, The Associated Press reported.

Written by Mary Kate Nelson