Home Health Aides to Get Overtime and Minimum Wage Protections

Current Law

People who employ housekeepers and others to perform household services in their home for at least 8 hours per week are required to pay the minimum wage and overtime. Babysitters who work a regular, steady schedule for more than 8 hours per week are covered too.

One would think that home health care workers, such as STNAs and CNAs (but not registered or practical nurses) would be entitled to minimum wages and overtime pay. The current general rule is they are not because of the “companionship” exemption. Companionship services mean fellowship, care, and protection for a person who, because of advanced age or physical or mental infirmity, cannot care for his or her own needs. If, however, more than 20% of such services include household work for the aged or infirm person, such as meal preparation, bed making, washing of clothes and general household work, then they are considered domestic service employees entitled to the minimum wage and overtime pay.

New Law

The law will change on January 1, 2015. As of that date, home care staffing agencies will have to pay their workers the minimum wage for all hours worked, and overtime pay at time and one-half of the regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek, regardless of duties. As a result, millions of home care workers will become entitled to the minimum wage and overtime pay.

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