The Department of Labor is staking an interesting position in federal court case Home Care Association of America (“HCAOA”) v. Weil. The outcome will affect anyone with an elderly parent or disabled loved one.
In the HCAOA case, whose outcome (in favor of the elderly and disabled) was recently appealed by the Department of Labor, the definition of care is disputed. U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon had recently ruled favorably for families like those we serve, vacating the Department of Labor’s attempts to drastically narrow the definition of “companionship services” (29 CFR Sec. 552.6,).
The new definition of “companionship services” would have limited the provision of “care” – assistance with “activities of daily living” and “instrumental activities of daily living” – to less than 20 percent of an employee’s total weekly hours worked. In short, it would have caregivers unable to spend more than 20 percent of their workweek providing care, making almost every caregiver a part time employee unable to log additional care hours. The vast majority of employees currently providing care would no longer qualify as a caregiver, limiting their ability to serve.
Via Judge Leon, U.S. District Court:
“[THE DOL’s] narrowed definition of care contrary to the statute, arbitrary and illogical… Indeed, what services could possibly be required more by those ‘unable to care for themselves’ than care itself?”
That the DOL is actively attempting to limit the very thing essential to the daily survival of your elderly and disabled loved ones should concern us all. The DOL filed appeal last month.