The Department of Labor continues carrying out its aggressive regulatory agenda, releasing the much-anticipated final rule extending FLSA minimum wage and overtime protection to direct care workers such as home health aides, personal care aides and certified nursing assistants working for home care agencies and other domestic services employers, and reversing the application of the exemption set forth in a 2007 Supreme Court decision. Fifteen states already extend state minimum wage and overtime protections to direct care workers, and an additional six states and the District of Columbia already require employers to pay domestic services workers minimum wage. The new federal requirements, which take effect January 1, 2015, will extend FLSA minimum wage and overtime requirements to an estimated two million workers in the industry, resulting in increased labor costs, even where the business is reimbursed by the federal government on a fixed basis. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez has indicated that the “implementation window” created by the 2015 effective date intentionally was provided to give employers an opportunity to adjust.

The Department of Labor has created a new web portal containing basic information on the new requirements. Industry employers, particularly in states not already providing such minimum wage protection, must devote some attention during the coming year to any necessary changes to their compliance practices and/or their business model.