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We Count on Home Care

We Count on Home Care

U.S. Court of Appeals Unanimously Upheld DOL Rule, Opinion Effective as of Oct. 13, 2015

The Department of Labor issued the Home Care Final Rule to extend minimum wage and overtime protections to almost 2 million home care workers. The rule was challenged in federal court, but on August 21, 2015, a federal Court of Appeals issued a unanimous opinion affirming the validity of the Final Rule. This opinion upholding the Home Care Final Rule became effective on October 13, 2015, when the Court of Appeals issued its mandate. On June 27, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order denying a request to review the Court of Appeals decision, meaning the opinion stands. We continue to provide employers technical assistance for coming into compliance with the Rule. As with all of our enforcement actions, employers and workers can expect that we will strategically use our enforcement resources, including complaint-based and agency-initiated investigations, to achieve compliance with these new important protections.

Please see below for more details about the litigation and the Departmentís non-enforcement policies.


U.S. Court of Appeals Unanimously Upheld DOL Rule, Opinion Effective as of Oct. 13, 2015

The Department of Labor issued the Home Care Final Rule to extend minimum wage and overtime protections to almost 2 million home care workers. We believe the Rule is the right policyóboth for those employees, whose demanding work merits these fundamental wage guarantees, and for recipients of services, who deserve a stable and professional workforce allowing them to remain in their homes and communities. The Home Care Final Rule, issued on October 1, 2013, had an effective date of January 1, 2015.

The Department has led an unprecedented implementation program to help employers of home care workers prepare for FLSA compliance, including offering an extensive and individualized technical assistance program, providing a 15-month period before the effective date, and adopting a time-limited non-enforcement policy.

In June 2014, associations of home care companies filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the Final Rule. In December 2014 and January 2015, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon issued opinions and orders vacating the Final Ruleís revised third party regulation and revised definition of companionship services, respectively.

The Department of Labor filed an appeal of the district courtís orders to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The case is Home Care Association of America v. Weil, No. 15-5018 (D.C. Cir.). On August 21, 2015, the Court of Appeals issued a unanimous opinion affirming the validity of the Final Rule and reversing the district courtís orders. The associations of home care companies filed a petition for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court, asking that Court to review the Court of Appeals decision. On June 27, 2016, the Supreme Court denied that request.

Because of the district court orders, the Department could not begin enforcement of the Final Rule on January 1, 2015, and because the Court of Appeals opinion did not take effect immediately, it could not begin enforcement on August 21, 2015, either. The home care associations asked the Court of Appeals and the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court to delay the date the Court of Appeals opinion would become effective, but both requests were denied. The Court of Appeals opinion reversing the district courtís orders became effective on October 13, 2015, when the Court of Appeals issued its mandate. The Department did not begin enforcement of the Final Rule until 30 days after that date, which means November 12, 2015. From November 12 through December 31, 2015, the Department was in the second phase of the time-limited non-enforcement policy it announced in October 2014, during which it exercised prosecutorial discretion in determining whether to bring enforcement actions, with particular consideration given to the extent to which States and other entities had made good faith efforts to bring their home care programs into compliance with the FLSA since the promulgation of the Final Rule.

As of January 1, 2016, we continue to provide employers technical assistance for coming into compliance with the Rule. As with all of our enforcement actions, employers and workers can expect that we will strategically our enforcement resources, including complaint-based and agency-initiated investigations, to achieve compliance with these new important protections.

August 21, 2015 U.S. Court of Appeals Decision (PDF)