A 1974 ruling by the Department of Labor (DOL) grouped adult home health care workers with teenage babysitters as "companions" not entitled to the wage protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). In 2007, the Supreme Court upheld that interpretation, saying it was up to Congress or the DOL to change the interpretation.

Yesterday (Dec. 15, 2011), the DOL did just that with a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that will fold home health care workers (but not babysitters) into the wage-and-hour protections of the FLSA. There will be a 60-day public commentary period before the department moves to finalize and publish the rule.

Currently, there are 1.9 million home health care workers in the United States, of whom 1.59 million work for staffing agencies.

Joining in on the announcement, President Obama noted,“Today’s action will ensure that these men and women get paid fairly for a service that a growing number of older Americans couldn’t live without.”

To understand all the requirements and regulations of the FLSA, please procure a copy of Personnel Concepts' informative but easy-to-use FLSA Compliance Program.