Following its decision in December that vacated a rule by the Department of Labor (DOL) to force third-party employers to pay home health care workers minimum wages and overtime, the District Court for the District of Columbia yesterday threw out Section 552.6 of the same rule, which sought to narrow the definition of “companionship services” in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The court ruling found that the DOL “yet again … is trying to do through regulation what must be done through legislation. And, therefore, it [Section 552.6] too must be vacated.”

The DOL rule had sought to limit the FLSA exemption from minimum wage and overtime laws to 20 percent of the time that health care workers are helping the elderly and disabled in their places of residence. In other words, 80 percent of time spent in domestic caring would be subject to both minimum wage and overtime protections.

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