U.S. DOL Home Care Rule Upheld by D.C. Circuit Court
Last Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) upheld the United States Department of Labor’s (“DOL’s”) Home Care Rule, which had previously been invalidated by a lower federal court. By way of background: The DOL issued the Home Care Rule in October, 2013, in order to remove an exemption to overtime requirements which had previously been available to third-party employers of “home care companions” (i.e., live-in caregivers for the elderly and disabled). In other words, prior to the Rule, so long as an employee satisfied the legal definition of “home care companion”, that employee would be deemed “exempt” under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), meaning the employer would not be required to pay any overtime.
But the Rule never went into effect – immediate legal challenges by industry groups stayed adoption of the Rule until the lawsuit could be resolved. Then, in January, 2015, it appeared those industry groups had prevailed when a federal trial court concluded the Rule violated Congress’s law-making intent. Not to be outdone, the DOL appealed the trial court’s ruling and, last Friday, the D.C. Circuit reversed that decision, thus clearing the path for the Rule to take effect.
What’s next? Nothing until at least October 13, 2015 — the D.C. Circuit Court’s ruling is automatically stayed for 52 days. But, having taken it this far, it is unlikely industry groups will stop now. And between now and October 13th, those groups have several options to continue the fight — they could file an appeal to the entire 9-Judge D.C. Circuit (last Friday’s decision was decided by only 3 of the 9), or file a petition for appeal directly to the U.S. Supreme Court. Simultaneously, the groups could file a motion for further stay pending acceptance of their petition to the Supreme Court. So, while nothing will happen until at least October 13th, it may very likely be well after that until we get some final resolution to this saga.
*This Alert is provided for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.