The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Monday struck down a Department of Labor (DOL) rule folding home health care workers into the wage provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), calling the rule a “thinly-veiled effort to do through regulation what could not be done through legislation.”

The Wagner Act of 1938, or what’s now known as the FLSA, specifically exempted domestic workers from its purview. In 1974, Congress expanded the FLSA to cover domestic workers but included a carve-out for those who provide “care and fellowship” to the elderly and disabled in their homes.

In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled in a caregiver’s lawsuit review that the plaintiff was not entitled to overtime pay despite working long hours as a domestic caregiver.

In his opinion for the District Court, Judge Richard Leon wrote that the carve-out is not “an open question” that can be answered by administrative fiat. It can only be addressed by Congress.

The case was Home Care Association of America v. Weil.

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