The U.S. Labor Department has officially published the proposed provisions that would drastically limit the federal Fair Labor Standards Act's exemptions for "companionship" workers and live-in domestic employees. As we have reported, adopting these proposals in their current form will mean that the proportion of such companions and domestic-service workers who are exempt from that law's minimum-wage and/or overtime requirements will be far smaller than it is today.
The deadline for submitting objections or other comments is February 27, 2012.
The Labor Department has been essentially unresponsive to employers' questions about its intentions as it developed these proposals. However, it is now clear that, all along, officials have been working closely with proponents and other employee-advocacy groups. A December 20 telephone conference hosted by the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute revealed that communications with the Secretary of Labor and others at the Labor Department by those who favor the practical elimination of the exemptions have been "intensive." This extended to an earlier submission of "thousands" of comments urging the kinds of changes that have now been proposed.
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