If you do not follow the laws to run your home care agency then you may run into legal obligations. These laws do not only include tax and recruitment but also includes overtime and others as well. All these laws will impact your home care agency by a considerable extent.
It is a well-known fact that all home care agencies face shortage of care providers and find it hard to retain the best ones. As a result, the existing staff strength is overburdened and overscheduled. If this happens continually, you may have to face legal consequences due to unethical business practice and failure to comply with the overtime laws.
It is true that employees are one of the most significant assets of a company and for a home care agency they are probably the only assets that can result in business growth. Therefore, you will have to manage your employees and this is a considerably big challenge by itself. This is because:
- You will have to keep them happy
- Provide all possible benefits and
- Also ensure that you keep your labor costs low.
In addition to that, the fact that most of the care providers are not exempt and not salaried employees, it becomes all the more critical to keep a tab on the overtime laws.
Therefore, first you will need to know all about the overtime laws involving a home care agency. It is only then you will know how these laws can affect a home health care Philadelphia. According to the overtime laws:
- All home care workers are treated as a special category
- The eligibility requirements for overtime may vary in comparison to most other industries and
- The regulatory landscape keeps on changing making the matter worse when it comes to agency management.
All these can not only affect your employee management process but may also make it difficult for you to keep up with your growth objectives and business development plans.
Probing deep into overtime laws
The overtime laws for the home health care industry include worker rights based on the prevailing regulatory milieu.
- Way back in 2013, the home care workers were also included by the Department of Labor in the extended wage and overtime protection periphery. The department argued that it was unfair to consider that the home care workers are and should be exempted from the Fair Labor Standards Act, FLSA.
- There were several home care service provider groups and other trade organizations as well who opposed and showed dissent to this move by the Department of Labor. They argued that such a change will increase the cost of health care and may potentially hurt the employees as well in the long run.
- On the other hand, a federal judge also ruled initially that the Department of Labor did not have any right to make such changes.
- However, in 2015, the Department of Labor once again prevailed and this time they restored the wage and overtime laws successfully.
As per the overtime laws and Under the FLSA all home care workers are entitled to a few specific benefits such as:
- They must be paid the federal minimum wage at least which is set at $7.25 per hour
- They are entitled to time and a half pay as overtime if they work for more than 40 hours in a seven-day workweek scale
- The workers have the right to sue the home care agency that does not comply with the overtime law
- They can even file a complaint asking for an investigation by the Department of Labor.
Any home care agency found to have violated the overtime law will have to pay back all missing wages to the home care worker and along with it a penalty that may be even double that amount. Oops! That hurts.
Exemptions to the law
However, there are a few exemptions according to the Department of Labor when it comes to paying the minimum wage as per the overtime rules.
For example, in a few specific situations the clients and their families may not need to pay the home care worker the set amount of federal minimum wage and overtime pay. These situations include services provided by the home care worker in the form of protection services and fellowship mostly. That means, if the home care worker spends most of the time keeping company and watching over the client instead of providing any personal care services, the minimum wage factor of the overtime rule may not apply.
In addition to that, there is a special FLSA rule that is also applicable to the home care workers especially those who live with the clients they work for in the same house. They may receive the minimum federal wage for the entire time spent with their clients but it is not required to pay them for working overtime. This special law is known as the Live-In Domestic Service Employee Exemption.
Variation of the law
The overtime laws may vary from one state to another and therefore you are also required to know the specific rule that is applicable in your state. This is because not all states favor this new federal law and for several reasons such as:
- It may impact specific groups of people such as elderlies and people with disabilities negatively while receiving such care and
- The restrictions may also threaten the safety and independence of these specific groups of people since they will have to hire additional caregiver to cover their service plans that is well over 35 hours per week.
There are also a few other states that are restricting this overtime pay eligibility and few others are debating on new and better policies that may be useful for the home care workers.
As a result, care is disrupted and there is a severe shortage of home care providers because home care agencies fail to cope with the additional costs due to the overtime and new labor laws.
Therefore, these laws are changing constantly. You can use a Care Delivery Management solution to ensure compliance with these overtime laws.