This past Thursday, three judges with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit heard oral arguments from attorneys in the case Home Care Association, et al. v. Weil, et al., in a lawsuit brought forth by home care associations against the Department of Labor (DOL) rule that was struck down earlier this year. In December, the U.S. District Court sided with plaintiffs including the Home Care Association of America, the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) and the International Franchise Association, which challenged a rule that would prohibit the application of two overtime compensation exemptions: companionship services and live-in domestic services.
The DOL appealed the District Court’s ruling, thus creating this hearing before the Court of Appeals.
The hotly contested rule would have granted home care workers the right to minimum wage and overtime protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Originally scheduled to have taken effect January 1, the DOL rule was overturned in two rulings by Federal District Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in December 2014 and January 2015.
Home care workers have been exempt from federal overtime and minimum wage protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act, which in 1974 was extended to most domestic workers but excluded home care aides.
Leading Home Care spoke with Bill Dombi, Vice President for Law with the National Association for Home Care & Hospice, prior to him presenting oral arguments. He was encouraged by Judge Leon’s rulings in December and January but said, “We feel we have a very strong case based on the specific wording of the law. However, this is a three-judge panel and we won’t know how they are seeing this until we get their ruling sometime in June.”
Stay tuned for more updates as the case progresses and we learn how the outcome will affect overtime pay for private duty caregivers.