A proposed rule announced by the United States Department of Labor in December could have a big impact on pay and benefits for home health care employees. The DOL said this week it has extended the comment period for public comments on the rule making, and will accept comments through March 21.
Proposed changes to the companionship and live-in worker regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act serve two purposes, the DOL says: First, to more clearly define the tasks that may be performed by an exempt companion. Also, the rule change aims to limit the current companionship exemption to those employed only by the family or household using the services, DOL says.
The extension marks the second in the rule making period, initially slated to close in February.
The proposed changes have sparked some debate among home health care employees and advocates, according to the Assisted Living Federation of America.
“Supporters of the rule argue that the current exemption has been exploited, causing economic hardship for home health workers,” ALFA wrote on its website this week. “However, many people in the home health industry oppose the change. They argue that an increase in workers’ overtime will require employers to cut employees’ hours and raise costs to the end consumer, which will cause more people to seek services from unqualified providers.”
The DOL is collecting comments through www.regulations.gov until March 21.