This Alert discusses the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hour Division’s recently published final rule, which significantly changes the scope of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) “companionship exemption.” Set to become effective January 1, 2015, the final rule most notably eliminates the exemption’s application to direct care workers employed by third-party agencies. As a result of the final rule’s changes, the vast majority of professional caregivers, i.e., home-healthcare workers, will no longer be exempted from the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime requirements. The DOL estimates that the final rule will extend the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime protections to almost two million workers, almost all of whom are employed by home-healthcare agencies.
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