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Wage and Hour Division
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Home care workers and an elderly woman

Check Your Requirements


Am I required to pay my direct care worker minimum wage and overtime?

If you are an individual or a family with a direct care worker (such as a home health aide, personal care aide, or similar occupation) working in your home, you may not only be the worker's client. You may also be considered the worker's employer and, therefore, may need to comply with federal minimum wage and overtime pay requirements effective January 1, 2015.

The Department of Labor has created this checklist to help you determine if you are required to pay your direct care worker at least the federal minimum wage and overtime pay. Read each question in order, click yes or no, and get a response that is specific to your situation.


Question Question

Is the worker employed by anyone other than the person being assisted or that person's family or household (for instance, by a home care agency or other entity)?

Yes No

You answered 'Yes' to this question You answered 'No' to this question You answered 'Yes' to this question You answered 'No' to this question

A direct care worker must receive at least the federal minimum wage and overtime pay if he or she is employed or jointly employed by a home care agency or other employer other than the individual receiving the workers services or that individuals family or household.

However, if a worker is jointly employed by a home care agency or other employer as well as the individual, family, or household and the worker meets the duties criteria in the following questions, then the individual, family, or household may claim the companionship services exemption and will not be responsible for ensuring the worker receives at least the federal minimum wage and overtime pay.

See also:

Direct care workers who are employed solely by the person being assisted or that person's family or household may or may not be entitled to the federal minimum wage and overtime pay, depending on job duties. Continue to the next question.

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Question Question

Does the worker provide domestic services that are primarily on behalf of other members of the household, such as doing laundry for another family member or preparing meals for someone other than the person being assisted?

Yes No

You answered 'Yes' to this question You answered 'No' to this question You answered 'Yes' to this question You answered 'No' to this question

Yes, direct care workers must be paid at least the federal minimum wage and overtime pay in any workweek when they perform domestic work that is primarily for the benefit of others besides the person being assisted. There's no need for you to answer any further questions.

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If the work that the direct care worker performs primarily benefits only the person being assisted, then the worker may or may not be entitled to the federal minimum wage and overtime pay. Continue to the next question.

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Question Question

Does the worker provide medically related services that typically require and are performed by trained medical personnel? These are services that may be invasive, sterile, or otherwise require exercising medical judgment, such as assisting with tube feeding or catheter care.

Yes No

You answered 'Yes' to this question You answered 'No' to this question You answered 'Yes' to this question You answered 'No' to this question

Yes, direct care workers must be paid at least the federal minimum wage and overtime pay in any workweek when they perform medically related services that typically require trained medical personnel (like a licensed practical nurse, certified nurse assistant, etc.). Even if a worker hasn't had the required training or has a different job title, he or she is still covered by the minimum wage and overtime pay protections if performing these services. There's no need for you to answer any further questions.

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If the worker does not provide this level of medically related care, then the worker may or may not be entitled to the federal minimum wage and overtime pay. Continue to the next question.

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Question

Does the worker spend more than 20% of his or her time in a workweek assisting with activities of daily living (ADLs) (such as dressing, grooming, feeding, bathing, toileting, and transferring) or instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) (such as meal preparation, driving, light housework, managing finances, assisting with the physical taking of medications, and arranging medical care)?

Yes No

You answered 'Yes' to this question You answered 'No' to this question You answered 'Yes' to this question You answered 'No' to this question

Yes, direct care workers must be paid at least the federal minimum wage and overtime pay in any workweek when they spend more than 20% of their time assisting with activities of daily living (ADLs) or instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs).

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If the answer to every question has been "no", then it is likely that your direct care worker is not required to be paid the federal minimum wage and overtime pay. Generally, a worker is not entitled to federal minimum wage and overtime pay if the worker:

1. is employed in a private home solely by the person being assisted or that person's family or household, and

2. provides "companionship services" to a person who needs assistance in caring for himself or herself, such as an elderly person or someone with an illness, injury, or disability. Companionship services include providing fellowship and protection (defined as engaging the person in social, physical, and mental activities such as conversation, reading, games, etc., and being present with the person to monitor his or her safety and well being), and may also include assisting with ADLs and IADLs, as long as this assistance isn't more than 20% of the time worked in any workweek.

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