DOL Sets Its Sights on Misclassification of Home Care Workers
In case you missed it, last week the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) blogged about the misclassification of workers in the home care industry. As a reminder, on October 1, 2013, the DOL issued its home care final rule, which (1) more narrowly defines the tasks that comprise exempt “companionship service” and (2) limits the exemptions for companionship services and live-in domestic service employees to individuals, families, or households using the service, and no longer extends such exemptions to third-party employers such as home health care agencies. As of January 1, 2016, the DOL began to fully enforce this rule.
The DOL touts its “unprecedented efforts” to assist employers in preparing for compliance with its home care final rule and refers employers to the administrator’s interpretation issued last summer that distinguishes “independent contractors” from “employees” and broadly defines the latter term. Home care agencies should be aware that the DOL has targeted enforcement in the industry and will expect employers to be fully conversant in the new rule.
In a briefing on March 1, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Sharon Block, said that the DOL hopes to put “more cops on the beat” (by hiring 300 more wage and hour investigators) to fight alleged wage theft. Given the DOL’s increased emphasis on enforcement of its final rule, employers in the home care industry should audit their workforce now to ensure that workers are properly classified and that any non-exempt employees are being paid minimum wage and overtime.