Assouline & Berlowe, P.A. Board Certified Partner Ellen Leibovitch recently spoke at a seminary regarding important changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that were set to take effect on January 1, 2015. These changes are relevant to third party agencies who employ companions and live-in domestic service employees.
After this seminar, on December 22, 2014, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia – in Home Care Association of America v. Weil, 1:14-cv-00967-RJL – struck down significant portions of the new rules which were set to go into effect on January 1, 2015. As Mrs. Leibovitch spoke about at the seminar , the new regulations would have made the long-standing exemptions to the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime requirements for companions and live-in domestic employees inapplicable to third-party employers (like home health care agencies). The federal court determined that the Department of Labor (DOL) exceeded its authority and improperly sought to impose obligations on employers in violation of the plain language of the FLSA.
What does this mean to you and your businesses? While the decision was a victory for many in the home health care industry, the court did not strike down the entire regulation, including the new definition of “companionship.” What is clear from the decision is that the new rules will NOT be applied to live-in domestic care workers who reside in the private household where they are employed. These workers will NOT, as the DOL had planned, be protected by the FLSA’s overtime requirements, although the minimum wage requirements and the record-keeping requirements will remain enforceable as of January 1, 2015.
As for companions (not live-ins), the rules are still somewhat unclear. It may take days or weeks to get a better handle on the situation, so please be on alert for further developments. While it would appear that the rush to comply with the new rules has come to a grinding halt, everyone should remain proactive and ready for what happens next. Mrs. Leibovitch will attempt to stay on the forefront and provide information as gathered.
Ellen M. Leibovitch is a Florida Bar Board Certified Labor & Employment lawyer and head of the firm’s labor and employment practice. If Mrs. Leibovitch can be of any assistance to you regarding these rule changes, please do not hesitate to contact her using the information below.
Florida Board Certified Labor and Employment Attorney
ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.
1801 N. Military Trail, Suite 160
Boca Raton, Florida 33431
Main: (561) 361-6566
Fax: (561) 361-6466
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