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SCOTUS says no to challenge on labor law for home care

June 27, 2016
by Pamela Tabar, Editor-in-Chief
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The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a case that would have challenged the Department of Labor’s ruling to extend federal labor protection to home care workers. The case, Home Care Association of America v. Weil, sought to challenge the DOL’s right to define the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) “companionship exemption,” a category of worker that had been exempt from federal minimum wage requirements prior to the law change in late 2015.

The DOL's Home Care final rule, in effect since January 2016, brought home care workers into the FLSA fold for the first time, granting them the right to minimum wage and overtime pay.

Homecare agencies hail the Court’s refusal to hear the case as support of the authority of the DOL to make decisions on the definitions on work classes and a reaffirmation of the new law granting homecare workers the right to fair pay.

"Following today's decision, we hope that state legislatures will move swiftly to ensure home care providers have the necessary funds to comply with the rule and avoid any disruption of services to consumers,” the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI) said today in support of the Court’s decision. "Home care is difficult work and has long been undervalued. As the number of people wanting long-term services and supports in their homes continues to climb, we need a multi-faceted national response to transforming long-term services and supports that acknowledges the crucial role of direct-care workers in creating a more equitable and reliable system of care.”

Nearly 2 million people are part of the home care work force, which includes personal care aides, nursing aides and other direct-care workers. To access state-by-state data on the homecare workforce, see the PHI workforce data center website.