Whether a senior caregiver is governed by Federal and State minimum wage and overtime laws hinges on two key elements. Who is the employer? What are the duties in the companion caregiver job description?
Employment law, wage and hour law, and payroll tax requirements for privately employed senior companion caregivers (whether direct hire or hired through a senior care registry) are governed by a complex assortment of Federal and state rules and legislation. The scope of the companion caregiver job description is used on the Federal level to distinguish privately employed companionship caregivers – exempt from Federal minimum wage and overtime protections – from other domestic services that do enjoy FLSA protections.
Since 2015, new definitions and regulations within the FLSA place limits on the senior care workers who can be classified as a companion senior caregiver and remain exempt from Federal minimum wage and overtime protections.
In brief, no individual employed by a home care agency may be classified as a companion – only individuals who are directly employed by a private family may qualify.
The scope of duties of an exempt companion senior caregiver have been narrowed to fellowship and protection, with no more than 20% of the caregiver’s time being allotted to personal care services (bathing, dressing, grooming). An exempt companion senior caregiver may have NO general household tasks assigned. A senior home care worker who performs any general household services or spends greater than 20% of their time providing personal care services is an hourly employee subject to the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime protections.
So what duties constitute a companion caregiver job description? What is companion care?
Indicates services typically provided as “companionship care.” Homecare workers employed by a private family who provide these services will be considered an exempt companion. Exempt companions may be paid any amount by a private household that is mutually agreeable, without concern for minimum wage and overtime. These payments are wages and subject to household employment taxes.
Whoa! Indicates general household services. If a homecare worker provides ANY of these services they are not eligible for the companionship exemption and have the same hourly pay rates, minimum wage and overtime coverage as other domestic service workers such as nannies.
Caution! Indicates personal care services. A homecare worker employed by a private household may provide these services and still be considered an exempt companion so long as no more than 20% of the caregiver’s time is devoted to these services. If these duties constitute more than 20% of the daily activities , the senior homecare worker must be paid an hourly wage and be in compliance with minimum wage and overtime regulations.