The Obama administration is giving home care agencies extra time to comply with new federal wage rules.
The U.S. Department of Labor says it will wait until June 2015 to start enforcing regulations that apply the federal Fair Labor Standards Act of 1974 (FLSA) minimum wage and overtime standards to home health agencies.
For the rest of the year, the department will exercise prosecutorial discretion when making decisions about how to enforce the new requirements, officials say.
The department completed the FLSA standards regulations in October 2013. In the regulations, the department set the standards to take effect Jan. 1, 2015.
The department has argued that the standards should take as effect as soon as practicable, because they serve the purpose of extending basic labor standards to home care workers. The rules do not apply to families that hire home care workers directly, without help from an agency.
Many long-term care (LTC) services providers, including some state Medicaid programs, asked the department to delay enforcement even further, arguing that the new rules could increase the cost of care for people with disabilities, people with serious health problems, and older people who have difficulty leaving their homes.
The National Employment Law Project, one of the groups that has lobbied for applying FLSA wage standards to home care workers, argues that the changes could help improve the quality of care without doing much to increase costs, by improving the quality and stability of the home care workforce.