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DOL Releases Final Companionship Exemption Rule

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DOL Releases Final Companionship Exemption Rule

September 17, 2013

The long-awaited final rule that will limit use of the companionship exemption was released today by the Department of Labor (DOL). The rule is largely unchanged from the final rule that was sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The rule limits the use of the companionship exemption to direct care workers not employed by home care agencies and other third parties. Family members and workers whose services are contracted for directly by the person served remain not subject to minimum wage and overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The final rule also clarifies that direct care workers who perform medically-related services for which training is typically a prerequisite are not companionship workers and therefore are entitled to the minimum wage and overtime. Individual workers who are employed only by the person receiving services or that person's family or household and engaged primarily in fellowship and protection (providing company, visiting or engaging in hobbies) and care incidental to such activities, will still be considered exempt from the FLSA's minimum wage and overtime protections. 

ANCOR had submitted comments on the final rule, urging that a more thorough impact analysis be done, and asking that if the rule was finalized that implementation be delayed for three years in order to provide agencies time to transition. Though not the three years we had asked for, the DOL set the implementation date at January 1, 2015. ANCOR will provide a full analysis of the rule next week. 

The final rule is available here. The DOL's press release is available here.

To help workers, families and other employers learn more about the changes associated with this new Final Rule, the Department of Labor will be holding informational webinars in the coming weeks. The webinars will be free and are open to any member of the public.

Five webinar sessions with DOL have been scheduled, one for each region of the country. DOL encourages participants to register for the webinar that is scheduled for the state where they live.
 
Thursday, October 3, 2013: Northeast Region (ME, NH, VT, MA, RI, CT, NY, PA, NJ, DE, MD, DC, VA, WV, PR) 3:00-4:30 Eastern Time
Tuesday, October 8, 2013: Western Region (AZ, NV, CA, OR, WA, ID, HI, AK) 10:00-11:30 Pacific Time
Thursday, October 10, 2013: Midwest Region (OH, MI, IN, IL, WI, MN, IA, MO, NE, KS) 1:00-2:30 Central Time; 2:00-3:30 Eastern Time
Tuesday, October 15, 2013: Southeast Region (KY, TN, NC, SC, GA, FL, AL, MS) 9:00-10:30 Central Time, 10:00-11:30 Eastern Time
Thursday, October 17, 2013: Southwest/Mountain Region (LA, TX, AR, OK, NM, CO, WY, UT, MT, ND, SD) 1:00-2:30, Mountain Time; 2:00-3:30 Central Time
 
More here: http://www.dol.gov/whd/homecare/webinar.htm