An Attack on New DOL Home Health Care Workers Overtime Rule

The changes to overtime rules announced by President Obama and the Department of Labor have already come under attack by a combination of state governments and home health care agency owners.

The rules, scheduled to come into effect January 2015, would require home health care workers be paid overtime if they work more than 40 hours in a week. Currently a health care worker who works in a private home may not need to be paid overtime under federal law.

Some state governments want the rule to be delayed because they are worried about medicaid costs. Currently medicaid pays for home health care for poor people. The state’s medicaid budgets are balanced by underpaying certain workers and the states are concerned that they may not be able to change their budgets in response to the new requirements. The fact that a number of states already require that home health care workers be paid overtime suggests that the proposed federal changes would not make home health care financially unfeasible for medicaid patients.

Private industry associations have also challenged the new rule by suing the Department of Labor in Federal Court. The industry groups are claiming that the Department does not have the authority to institute the new rules and did not follow the proper procedures. Following previous court decisions should lead to the challenge failing. In 2007 the Supreme Court ruled the DOL’s interpretation of the rule that denied overtime for home health care workers was appropriate because Congress authorized the Labor Department to write the regulation on who was to be covered under the law and the department properly did just that. It would be incredible (though with this supreme court possible) that a court could rule that the Department has the authority to institute rules to deny overtime protections for home health care workers but not interpret the rule to allow overtime protections where the statute is silent on the issue.

While there are many situations where an individual doing health care work in a private home is exempt from being paid overtime, it’s not always the case. If you are providing health care and other duties and don’t get paid overtime it is worth speaking with an attorney. In Georgia contact Atlanta overtime lawyer Ben Kandy.


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