Supreme Court upholds U.S. Labor Department Rules Extending FLSA Protections to Home Health Care Workers

Sara Geenen

Home health care workers hired through third-party staffing agencies to provide in-home care to the elderly and people with injuries, illnesses, or disabilities, have, for years, been overlooked by laws that provide protections to workers. Recently, though, the U.S. Department of Labor issued Final Rules intended to extend the minimum wage and overtime protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) to over 2 million home care workers.

The effective date of the rule was January 1, 2015. Subsequent litigation challenged the validity of the rules and the effective date. The validity of the regulations has been resolved in favor of home health care workers by the Supreme Court as of June 26, 2016, although lower courts are split on whether the rules became effective January 1, 2015, or October 13, 2015.

As a result of the Supreme Court’s decision to let the DOL’s rules stand, home health care workers who are or were employed by a third party, such as an agency, are entitled to be paid at least the federal minimum wage ($7.25) for all hours worked, in addition to being paid at the overtime rate – one and one-half times the minimum wage – after working 40 hours in a week.