Renewed Push to Overturn Home Care Overtime Protections

With a new Labor Secretary likely on the way in, home health industry organizations are setting their sights on repealing overtime and minimum wage coverage protections recently granted to home care workers, Bloomberg BNA reported.

The rule, which went into effect at the end of 2015, mandated that home care workers were eligible for overtime and minimum wage protections. It impacted roughly two million home care workers and was a major disruption for the industry.

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) sued the Department of Labor (DOL) in a bid to overturn the law, but was unsuccessful last year. Under new leadership at the Labor Department, NAHC may soon try again to get the rule thrown out.

“We will be seeking the reinstatement of the original rules on the companionship services and live-in domestic services exemption once the new Secretary is confirmed,” William Dombi, vice president for law at NAHC, told Bloomberg BNA.

President Trump has not yet been able to fill the vacant seat of Labor Secretary, after his first appointee, Andrew Puzder, dropped out of consideration in February. Trump’s second appointee, Alexander Acosta, could be confirmed as soon as late April, according to Bloomberg BNA.

Acosta has not expressed clear views on the rule that overturned the companionship services exemption. NAHC will request an in-person meeting with the new Secretary, once sworn in, to make its case.

In 2015, NAHC asked the Supreme Court to review the case, but the high court denied to take up the case in June 2016.

Home care groups have hedged their bets on looser regulations and friendlier business policies under the Trump administration.

Already, the industry has seen a rollback in the expansion of new regulations, including mandatory bundled payments and the Pre-Claim Review Demonstration (PCRD).

NAHC is hopeful that the DOL, under new leadership, will issue a new proposed rule to reinstate the old interpretation of companionship services.

Written by Amy Baxter

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