CLIENT UPDATE

Putney, Twombly, Hall & Hirson LLP
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New York, NY 10175
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January 16, 2015

Court Vacates Additional Provisions of New FLSA Home Care Regulations

As we have previously advised, on December 22, 2014, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia vacated a significant portion of the United States Department of Labor’s regulations that would have extended the coverage of the Fair Labor Standards Act to employees of agencies who were engaged in “companionship services” and “live-in domestic services,” who were previously considered exempt from federal minimum wage and overtime requirements. Home Care Association of America v. Weil, ECF Docket No. 22, 14 Civ. 967 (RJL), (D.D.C. Dec. 22, 2014). A copy of our December 24, 2014 Client Alert is available at http://www.putneylaw.com/cu_122414.html.

On December 24, 2014, the plaintiffs in Home Care Association of America challenged a different portion of these regulations that significantly narrowed the definition of “companionship services” and changed the definition of activities that constitute “care.”  The plaintiffs claimed that these regulations, scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2015, violated the FLSA.  On December 31, 2014, the Court issued a temporary restraining order, staying these regulations from taking effect for fourteen days. 

On January 14, 2015 the Court vacated the Department of Labor’s revised companionship services regulation scheduled to go into effect on January 15, 2015, finding that the regulations were contrary to the legislative intent of the FLSA which was to exempt from minimum wage and overtime requirements domestic workers providing services, including care to the elderly and disabled.  The Court held that the Department of Labor could not accomplish through regulation what must be done through legislation.  As a result of these decisions, home care agencies may continue to treat employees who are engaged in “companionship services” and “live-in domestic services” as defined by the FLSA as exempt.

We will keep you apprised of any further developments. Home care agencies that have any questions regarding the exemption, the rules or comparable state and local laws should contact us.