DOL Issue Updates
MAY 3, 2013 -The fight to keep the companion exemption in place continues. The good news is that the scheduled repeal date has passed (April 2013) but media coverage, for the most part, has been rather in favor of the repeal. Many members are asking what can they do to help. We ask that you to contact your Congressperson and encourage them to support keeping the companion exemption in place.
Recently, Representative Bill Cassidy's (R-La) office contacted the PCA and indicated that the Congressman would like to sign a joint letter to OMB opposing the proposed changes to the companionship exemption. There is another opportunity for House Members from any state to sign a joint letter to OMB, along with Rep Cassidy. Please contact the PCA as soon as possible if your House Member has expressed an interest in signing a joint letter to OMB, so we can help them connect with Representative Cassidy's office.
APRIL 8, 2013 - U.S. Senators Alexander, Burr, Johanns, Coburn and Cornyn sent a letter to the Obama Administration's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) urge the administration to return the proposed rule that would raise the cost of Companion Care to the Labor Department for "a more accurate analysis." Read the full press release.
APRIL 3, 2013 - Please help us to continue to fight the proposed changes to the Companionship Services Exemption, which would increase the cost of private in-home care by more than $10,000 annually for millions of seniors and disabled individuals throughout the U.S. Send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper and encourage the DOL to preserve the overtime portion of the Companion Care Exemption.
FEBRUARY 25, 2013 - Help the PCA preserve the Companionship Services Exemption!
The PCA is urging consumers, caregivers and home care advocates to ask Congress to protect access to and the affordability of home care for seniors and disabled individuals. Contact your Congressperson and ask him or her to support proposals that would preserve the Companionship Services Exemption. Visit http://whoismyrepresentative.com to find out who represents you in Congress by searching the database using your zipcode or state.
Learn more by reviewing these "Talking Points" and download our form letter to send to your Congressperson urging him or her to support proposals that would protect the Companionship Services Exemption, including H.R. 5969, the "Ensuring Access to Affordable and Quality Companion Care Act" and H.R. 5970, the "Protecting In-Home Care from Government Intrusion Act." Ask them to reject those proposals that would eliminate or severely narrow the Companionship Services Exemption. Encourage them to keep home care affordable for seniors and disabled adults.
JANUARY 2013 UPDATES - There has been a significant development in the proposed repeal of the Companion Exemption by the Department of Labor (DOL). The DOL has now completed its review of the comments and prepared a draft final rule that addresses the comments. This draft final rule has been formally submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. OMB has accepted the draft final rule for review, and notice has been posted on its website:
While we have not seen the final proposed rule we have heard from some supporters that the comments resulted in "little or no gain" in terms of changes to the proposed rule. Your Private Care Association has taken the lead and through our friends in Congress are scheduling a meeting with OMB with the intent of OMB sending the rule back to DOL for further review. OMB could have rubber stamped it and sent it on to the President for signature but it has not done so yet. That has given us some hope that OMB may not be satisfied with the rule in terms of its financial implications as the DOL submission states that the financial impact is 0.
PCA President James Mark and Attorney Russ Hollrah are participating in a companion exemption roundtable hosted by the National Council on Disability later this month but they are frankly moving towards implementation of the rule. If you have not done so already please make plans to attend our Washington, D.C Fly-In February 26th and 27th as we may need to move towards a legislative solution to this dilemma.
DECEMBER 2012 UPDATES - Please save the date for a PCA "Fly-In" in Washington, DC February 26 - 27th. On Tuesday, February 26, at 4:00pm PCA will hold a board meeting followed by a fundraising event for Representative Jim Langevin (D-RI). On Wednesday, February 27th at 9:00am PCA will hold a session to prepare its members for the meetings with Members of Congress and their aides scheduled for the day. More details on this event will be announced shortly, but we encourage you to make travel arrangements and join us for this very important Fly-In. Review more details here, or contact PCA Vice President Amy Natt for additional information. email@example.com. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
JULY 2012 UPDATES - Please view the attached documents for an overview of the current status of the administrative and legislative developments affecting the companionship exemption to the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (the "FLSA"). The memorandum describes the status overall and the Bill Chart provides a comparison of how each supportive bill would amend the FLSA. View Memo. View Chart.
On December 27, 2011 the Department of Labor (DOL) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to revise the companionship and live-in worker regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act. If approved, the rule would significantly narrow a 1974 exemption for companions for the elderly and / or ill from the Fair Labor Standards Act, which would require that they be paid overtime. The PCA and the entire private home-care industry fears that this will make in-home healthcare more expensive and less individualized for today's ill and aging consumer.
As a PCA member, your action is required and this is the time for all members to play an active role! We encourage you to visit this page often so that you can stay up-to-date on this issue and actively participate in the important steps that PCA is taking to help secure the future of the registry model and home care industry.
The Department of Labor's (DOL) comment period on this proposed rule has ended, but the closed comment period and the House hearing do not mark the end of the process. The process continues! The DOL has not yet issued any final guidance. Until that happens, we have an opportunity to win this issue, but we need to continue our efforts.
Background on the Issue:
The "companionship exemption" exempts a covered caregiver from the overtime and minimum-wage requirements imposed by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA")
Virtually all caregivers currently receive the minimum wage; the principal effect of the proposal would be to subject caregivers who are no longer covered by the revised companionship exemption to the FLSA's overtime requirements
The proposed regulations by the U.S. Department of Labor ("DOL") would modify the companionship exemption by denying the FLSA's companionship exemption to any third-party firm and by re-defining "companionship" services.
This would have an adverse effect on our vulnerable population, consisting of the elderly and the disabled, and many caregivers could be forced to work fewer total hours, and earn less, if they are unable to find multiple clients whose care schedules can be accommodated at the same time.
Download and view our list of Talking Points here to learn more about how this issue will affect you and the industry as a whole.