Compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is an important priority for private providers. In recent years, the Department of Labor has made major changes to certain pieces of that law that impact providers and other employers. Additionally, several states have enacted new minimum wage laws above the federal level, creating unique challenges for providers that are reimbursed almost exclusively through state Medicaid programs. ANCOR is committed to keeping its members fully informed of developments relating to federal wage and hour law, and state-level trends that impact the ability to recruit and retain a qualty DSP workforce.
We are pleased to offer as a member benefit limited complimentary legal consulting provided by the law firm of Gilliland, Harper & Maguire, PC. For details of how to access that benefit, contact ANCOR staff.
DOL Home Care Rule ("Companionship Rule") - Effective January 1, 2015
On October 1, 2013, the Department of Labor issued a rule (RIN 1235-AA06) which changed the treatment of "companions" under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Prior to the rule, individuals who performed "companionship services" were not required to be paid minimum wage or overtime under the FLSA (though some states had requirements beyond the federal law). Under the new rule, only companions who were not employed by a third-party or joint employer remained exempt. This rule has resulted in many states forbidding or significantly curbing overtime for individuals providing companionship services. ANCOR was instrumental in the formulation of guidance from the DOL that clarified that certain shared living models would not be subject to the rule.
DOL Overtime Exemption Rule ("White Collar Rule") - Currently not in effect
On May 23, 2016, the Department of Labor issued a rule (RIN 1235-AA11) which increased the salary threshold above which executive, administrative, and professional employees would be exempt from overtime requirements. The rule set the new threshold at $913/week ($47,476/year). The rule was issued with a time-limited non-enforcement policy directed at certain HCBS providers which was the direct result of ANCOR's efforts through 2016's Save Our Services Campaign. On November 22, 2016, a federal district court judge issued an injunction against the rule which effectly blocked its implementation nationwide. On July 26, 2017 the DOL issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking public input on the rule, which the Trump administration through current DOL Secretary Alexander Acosta has indicated it is planning to revise.
In 2017, nineteen states raised their minimum wages from prior years. Seven states (Alaska, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio and South Dakota) automatically increased their rates based on the cost of living, five states (Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Maine and Washington) increased their rates through ballot initiatives previously approved by voters, and seven states (California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York and Vermont) did so as a result of legislation passed in prior sessions. Washington D.C., Maryland and Oregon raised their respective minimum wages on July 1, 2017 due to previously enacted legislation. Currently, 29 states and the District of Columbia have minimum wages above the federal minimum wage of $7.25. (Source: National Conference of State Legislatures) Additionally, 40 localities have raised their wages higher than their state minimum wages. (Source: Economic Policy Institute)