There have been further developments regarding the U.S. Department of Labor's proposed regulation that would drastically limit the Fair Labor Standard Act's Section 13(a)(15) "companionship" exemption. A collection of our posts relating to these matters can be accessed here.
The comment period for the proposed regulation closed on March 21, but the fight over the exemption continues with the Senate's recent entry into the fray. A group of 11 Republican senators has introduced S. 3280 to block the proposed regulation. The "Companionship Exemption Protection Act" would amend the FLSA to preserve the current state of the exemption.
Two of the bill's sponsors, Senators Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Johanns (R-Neb.), argue that the proposed regulation would drive up the cost of in-home care and would force families to institutionalize seniors, thereby straining state Medicaid budgets. Their proposal is a more-elaborate take on the matter than is the identically-named H.R. 3066, introduced in the House of Representatives last September by Nebraska Republican Lee Terry. One feature the bills have in common is that each would remove the Secretary of Labor's authority to "define and delimit" the exemption.
The companionship exemption provides that the FLSA's minimum-wage and overtime requirements do not apply to employees "employed in domestic service employment to provide companionship services for individuals who (because of...