The Department of Labor has announced that it will temporarily delay enforcement of a recent final rule extending minimum wage, travel pay, and overtime requirements for certain home care workers serving people with disabilities. Under the new rule, initially issued in 2013, direct care workers who are either solely or jointly employed by third-party employers, such as states or home care agencies, must be paid at least minimum wage, must be compensated for time traveling from one client home to another, and must receive overtime pay when working more than 40 hours in one work week. Workers employed solely by a family or individual may be covered by these protections if they are providing health care assistance or perform more than a limited number of tasks in addition to “fellowship and protection.”
Numerous workers with disabilities rely on home care workers who will be covered by the new rule, including workers who help people with disabilities prepare for work each morning. Although the new rule was intended to come into effect on January 1, 2015, the Department of Labor has announced that it will not take enforcement actions against employers who fail to comply with the new rule until June 30, 2015. Between July 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015, the Department of Labor will “exercise its discretion” to bring enforcement actions only against employers who have unnecessarily delayed coming into compliance. Nevertheless, employers who fail to comply with the new rule may still be subject to private enforcement actions beginning on January 1, 2015. This time-limited non-enforcement policy will allow states to complete the budgeting and legislative process necessary to comply with the new rule without disrupting services to individuals with disabilities.