The Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA, is used to protect individuals during their employment. This act also applies in a unique way to any individual that works in the home of another, such as a domestic service worker. Before employing any individual, whether for a company or in a personal manner, it’s important to understand how the laws apply. These regulations are used not only to protect the employee, but also to protect the employer from legal action or accusations that may be made in the future.
Exemptions for Home Care Workers
An individual may work in several different positions to fall under the umbrella of home care worker. This includes:
- Domestic service workers
- Live-in service workers
- Companionship services
- Medically related services
While certain jobs are regulated under the FLSA, others are exempt from the rules. Some domestic service workers are allowed to provide companionship services without regulation by the FLSA. This includes an individual employed to provide any type of companionship service to an individual with a disability or injury, or one that is elderly. If these individuals meet certain requirements, the overtime pay and minimum wage laws do not apply to them.If the individual is hired to encourage engagement in mental, physical or social activities, such as walks or errands, then the employer is not required to meet the requirements of the FLSA. Similarly, if the individual is tasked with assisting the disabled person with basic grooming tasks, this falls under the “care” provision of the FLSA.In these cases, if the employee spends more than 20 percent of his or her entire workweek performing these care services, then they are entitled to overtime pay and minimum wage pay.
Home Care Workers That Must Be Regulated
While the individuals listed previously may be exempt from the rules and regulations of the FLSA, others should always be paid in accordance with the act. Any employer that employs a person in his or her home should be aware of these regulations in order to avoid fines or legal action.
- Medical Services” While companionship services may extend to basic grooming tasks, they DO NOT include medical services that must be performed by trained, certified personnel. This includes licensed practical nurses, certified nursing assistants and registered nurses. If the task requires a medically trained individual, then wages and pay are regulated under the FLSA. Direct care workers should not perform services that should be given to licensed professionals in order to get an exemption.
- Work in Household” Any domestic services performed by an employee that benefit the household members are regulated under the FLSA. This includes but is not limited to making dinner, doing laundry or mopping floors. In these situations, employees must be compensated with overtime pay and minimum wage under the FLSA when applicable.
Any individual that lives in the house and performs domestic tasks is exempt from the overtime pay requirement, although the individual must live with the employer for extended periods of time or permanently. In order to get this exemption, the employee must work, sleep or live on the premises for more than 120 hours each week.
Simply put, someone who is hired to provide companionship or basic care to an individual in the house is not regulated by the FLSA. Those who are required to be medically trained, or who perform household chores in order to benefit the household, should always be paid according to the FLSA. While the law may seem complicated at times, it is in place to protect both the employer and the employee. Before you hire any worker to work in your home, understand the basics of the FLSA and how you may be exempt.
The content on our website is only meant to provide general information and is not legal advice. We make our best efforts to make sure the information is accurate, but we cannot guarantee it. Do not rely on the content as legal advice. For assistance with legal problems or for a legal inquiry please contact you attorney.