WASHINGTON, D.C. | March 19, 2012 -
On Tuesday, March 20 at 10:00 a.m., the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, chaired by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), will hold a hearing entitled “Ensuring Regulations Protect Access to Affordable and Quality Companion Care.” The hearing will take place in room 2175 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
In 1974, the Fair Labor Standards Act was amended to cover workers who perform domestic services. At the time, policymakers recognized the need for seniors and individuals with disabilities to maintain access to affordable care in their home. As a result, Congress created an exemption for workers providing in-home companion care. Yet a regulatory proposal released last year by the Department of Labor would severely restrict a worker’s ability to qualify for this exemption, with potentially negative consequences for individuals who rely upon these services.
Under the department’s proposal, only workers who comply with a number of arbitrary standards would qualify for the exemption. The proposed regulation also eliminates the exemption for companion care workers employed by a third-party. According to the department’s own estimates, the cost of companion care may increase anywhere from $420 million to $2.26 billion over the first 10 years.
Tuesday’s hearing will provide members an opportunity to examine the potential consequences of this proposal, including fewer hours of work for employees; higher costs for taxpayers, seniors, and individuals with disabilities; and fewer opportunities to receive in-home care. To learn more about this hearing, visit www.edworkforce.house.gov/hearings.
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Nancy J. Leppink
Wage and Hour Division
United States Department of Labor
Home Instead Senior Care
William A. Dombi
Vice President for Law
National Association for Home Care & Hospice
National Employment Law Project