Chicago Healthcare Employers May See Law Change

Currently, federal regulations do not require that home health aides get paid time-and-a-half for any hours over 40 worked in a week. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) exempts home health aides and other types of domestic service employees from overtime pay, as well as federal minimum wage.

This stipulation, however, may change in the very near future. The federal government is currently considering passing a regulation that would require home health aides to get paid time-and-a-half for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week, and also to be entitled to the federal minimum wage. In regards to this new proposed rule, President Obama has stated that domestic service employees “do everything from bathing to cooking, they’re still lumped in the same category as teenage babysitters when it comes to how much they make. That means employers are allowed to pay these workers less than minimum wage with no overtime. That’s right — you can wake up at 5:00 in the morning, care for somebody every minute of the day, take the late bus home at night, and still make less than the minimum wage.”

Chicago Healthcare Employers May See Law ChangeClearly, domestic service employees are for the regulation. However, some commentators have said that employers that employ the home health aides will just employ more workers so that the current employees will not have the opportunity to work over forty hours per week and earn time and half.

Employers of home health aides are adamantly against the passage of the regulation, claiming that it will make home health aide services unaffordable to those who need it most.

It is expected that by summer 2012, the Department of Labor  will decide whether to enact this new rule. If this new rule is enacted, then employers will need to fully understand the law to ensure that they pay their employees in accordance with federal law minimizing the risk of litigation. Chicago-area employers should contact a top Naperville business attorney for the necessary legal guidance.

Image courtesy of Ambro