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Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Amend the Companionship and Live-In Worker Regulations

Welcome to the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) Website on the proposed changes to the companionship and live-in worker regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

overview heading


While Congress expanded protections to “domestic service” workers in 1974, these Amendments also created a limited exemption from both the minimum wage and overtime pay requirements of the Act for casual babysitters and companions for the aged and infirm, and created an exemption from the overtime pay requirement only for live-in domestic workers.

Although the regulations governing exemptions have been substantially unchanged since they were promulgated in 1975, the in-home care industry has undergone a dramatic transformation. There has been a growing demand for long-term in-home care, and as a result the in-home care services industry has grown substantially. However, the earnings of in-home care employees remain among the lowest in the service industry, impeding efforts to improve both jobs and care. Moreover, the workers that are employed by in-home care staffing agencies are not the workers that Congress envisioned when it enacted the companionship exemption (i.e., neighbors performing elder sitting), but instead are professional caregivers entitled to FLSA protections. In view of these changes, the Department believes it is appropriate to reconsider whether the scope of the regulations are now too broad and not in harmony with Congressional intent.

Proposed Changes heading

Proposed Changes to the Companionship and Live-In Worker Regulations

On December 27, 2011 the Department published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to revise the companionship and live-in worker regulations for two important purposes:

  • To more clearly define the tasks that may be performed by an exempt companion
  • To limit the companionship exemption to companions employed only by the family or household using the services. Third party employers, such as in-home care staffing agencies, could not claim the exemption, even if the employee is jointly employed by the third party and the family or household.

On February 24, 2012, the Department published a notice to extend the comment period to March 12, 2012, because of requests received to extend the period for filing public comments and the Department's desire to obtain as much information about its proposals as possible. On March 13, 2012, the Department published a notice to extend the comment period until March 21, 2012. Comments received between December 27, 2011, the date of publication of the NPRM, and March 21, 2012 will be included in the rulemaking record.

Additional info on the NPRM heading

Additional Information on the NPRM

FLSA information

Additional Information on Companionship and Live-In Workers