In a letter dated August 14, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber (D) urged Department of Labor (DOL) Secretary Thomas Perez to delay the effective date of the recent DOL Home Care Rule that changes the application of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to domestic service workers, specifically the companionship exemption. Kitzhaber says that his state's "operation of robust in-home programs that serve seniors and people with disabilities has resulted in [Oregon] being disproportionately affected by the implications of this rule." He goes on to note that the additional cost of compliance, because of the state's budget cycle, cannot be appropriated in time to ensure compliance with the rule without negatively impacting people served. While he commends the DOL for providing more time than usual for implementing the rule, Kitzhaber says that the time provided is "insufficient to make and implement all of the necessary policy decisions." He then lays out several policy areas that must be addressed for the state to come into compliance with the new rule.
Last week, Kansas sent a similar letter to the DOL, highlighting concerns with the final rule. (See WICs article, "KDADS Asks for Self-Directed Exemption in DOL Home Care Rule," August 14, 2014.) ANCOR, the National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD), and other organizations have called on DOL for a delay in the implementation date of the rule, which is scheduled for January 1, 2015.
The letter from Kitzhaber is attached below.