DOL Delays Enforcement of “Final Rule”

Barkan Meizlish , May 14, 2015

Last year, the Department of Labor (DOL) published its “Final Rule,” which revised the “companionship exemption” under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to extend minimum wage and overtime pay protections to nearly two million domestic service workers.  Although the Final Rule’s January 1, 2015 effective date remains, the DOL announced last week that it will adopt a “time-limited non-enforcement policy” for these new changes to the FLSA.

Once the Final Rule takes effect, home health care employers will now have at least six months (and potentially up to a year) to comply with the new regulations.  From January 1, 2015 to June 30, 2015, the DOL will refrain from taking any enforcement action against employers.  For the remainder of 2015, the DOL will “exercise prosecutorial discretion in determining whether to bring enforcement actions.”  The DOL will consider a variety of factors in making enforcement decisions during this six-month period, including “the Department’s limited resources, the extent of the violations at issue, and the impact of a particular enforcement action on compliance.”  The decision to delay enforcement was brought on, in part, by state governments and other organizations expressing the need for more time to implement the necessary changes.  It is important to keep in mind, however, that the Final Rule’s effective date has not changed, and employers in this industry should make every attempt to comply with the new regulations by January 1, 2015. The DOL’s decision will not prevent employees from bringing FLSA minimum wage or overtime claims in 2015.

Source: Ted Boehm, USDOL Defers Enforcement Action on “Companionship” Changes (October 9, 2014)

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