Supreme Court Slams the Door on Homecare Employers


By:  Agne Krutules

Much to the dismay of employers who employ home healthcare workers, on June 27, 2016, the Supreme Court declined to hear Home Care Association of America v. Weil, a case challenging the Department of Labor (DOL) regulations that entitle home care workers employed by third party employers to overtime for all hours worked over forty in a workweek.  In short, this means that the Department of Labor’s final regulations extending overtime protections to nearly all home healthcare workers who are not self-employed is final, unless Congress steps in with intervening legislation.

The legal saga began on October 23, 2013, when the DOL published a new rule, extending the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) protections to home care workers who are employed by companies (rather than employed directly with the individual needing care).  This was a distinct change to the previous interpretation of the Fair Labor Standards Act home care exemption, which provided that all home care workers were exempt from overtime laws.

Home care industry associations challenged the new rule and won in a federal district court.  However, on October 13, 2015, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reversed the district court’s ruling, and reinstated the DOL’s expansion of coverage.  The Supreme Court’s refusal to grant certiorari in this case means that the Court of Appeals decision in this case is, at least for now, the final word.