The USDOL Home Care Rules: What Does Good Implementation Look Like?

In 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor’s final home care rules went into effect, extending the federal minimum wage and overtime protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act to two-million-plus home care workers in the United States. These new rules end the racist and sexist exclusion of home care workers from these basic federal protections and provide most of them with a floor of basic labor protections that will improve their working conditions.

As the demand for home care continues to surge, ensuring good jobs is critical to promoting quality of care and to sustaining local and state economies. States and other employers must now abide by state and federal laws and do right by both workers and consumers.

Checklist: What does good implementation look like?

  1. States and other employers are implementing the USDOL home care rules and their state laws by:
    • Paying at least the state or federal minimum wage, whichever is higher, for all hours worked.
    • Paying overtime rates for hours worked over 40 in a week (or otherwise specified by state law).
    • Paying for travel time between consumers.
    • Maintaining accurate records of workers’ hours and pay.
    • Treating workers as W-2 employees rather than independent contractors, where workers meet the broad definition of “employee.”
    • Taking advantage of USDOL’s extensive resources and technical assistance.
  2. States are taking the steps necessary for good implementation by:
    • Budgeting the necessary Medicaid dollars to pay for any increased costs associated with complying with the new federal rules.
    • Collecting data on the Medicaid-funded (and when applicable, the entire) home care workforce, hours worked, compensation, and other information.
    • Creating a taskforce, commission, or other entity to involve all relevant state agencies and affected stakeholders in promoting good implementation.
    • Making home care jobs quality jobs by providing family-sustaining wages, benefits, consistent scheduling, and opportunities for advancement.
  3. States and employers are finding solutions that do not violate the rights of consumers by:
    • Not imposing unreasonable worker hours caps.
    • Ensuring there is a robust exceptions process to any caps on worker hours.
    • Not cutting services to consumers or changing eligibility requirements.
    • Ensuring that wages and workplace policies allow employers and consumers to recruit and retain qualified workers.
    • Not eliminating consumer-directed programs and ensuring consumers have the option to self-direct their own care.
  1. Advocates are pushing for all of the above by:
    • Creating coalitions with unions and other worker groups, disability rights organizations, consumer groups, and others to push for funding for implementation and enforcement of the rules.
    • Making sure home care workers know their rights and have full access to records of their hours and pay.
    • Providing consumers with information about the rules and any state implementation measures that may affect their current home care arrangements.
    • Making sure consumers know their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
    • Encouraging good state, federal, and private compliance assistance and enforcement.
    • Organizing workers and consumers to voice their collective concerns and suggestions for improvements to the home care industry and program leads.

Continued . . . download the full fact sheet below.   

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