United States Supreme Court Holds that Home Health workers Employed by Third-Party Agencies are Exempt From FLSA Coverage

Published by the Winbrake Law firm, LLC

On June 11, 2007, the Supreme Court issued its long-anticipated decision in Long Island Care at Home, Ltd. v. Coke, 551 U.S. __, 2007 U.S. Lexis 7717 (June 11, 2007), holding that home health aids are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) minimum wage and overtime provisions. The unanimous decision, authored by Justice Breyer, dealt a blow to hundreds of thousands of home health workers who assist client’s with daily living activities such as dressing, bathing, housecleaning, and cooking.

Trial lawyers and other workplace justice advocates expressed disappointment with the ruling. According to Gerry Hudson, Vice President of the Service Employees International Union, the decision “is a serious blow to efforts to ensure quality home care in America and underscores how unprepared we are to care for the millions of seniors who will want to live at home instead of institutions.”

lmpact on the FLSA’s Companionship Exemption
The Supreme Court’s June 11 decision resolved a split in the circuit court’s regarding whether the FLSA’s companionship exemption applied to home health aids who are not employed by the family or household using their services.

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