On Thursday, January 22, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) appealed the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia's two orders that vacated both major provisions of the DOL's Home Care Rule. Originally intended to be effective on January 1, 2015, the new rule would have excluded third-party employers from relying on the companionship and live-in domestic worker exemptions and would have drastically narrowed the definition of companionship services under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). On December 22, 2014, and on January 14, 2015, the court vacated both regulatory changes.
It is unclear how long it will take for the court of appeals to decide the case, though the DOL has stated its intent to ask for expedited consideration. In the meantime, third-party employers may continue to rely on the companionship exemption to the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime requirements and the live-in domestic worker exemption to the FLSA’s overtime requirements. Further, the original definition of companionship services remains intact. These proposed rule changes will only go into effect if the district court is ultimately reversed on appeal.