As part of our ongoing commitment to compliance with all state and federal regulations, we at Abby Services wanted to make our clients aware of recent Labor Law changes. The United States Department of Labor released a document titled “Paying Minimum Wage and Overtime to Home Care Workers” on March 30, 2016. This document explains that consumers can and will be ultimately responsible for compliance with newly interpreted overtime laws in relation to the elimination of the Companionship exemption.
Abby Services believes this decision is harmful to clients by affecting continuity of care, and the ability to fully self-direct your own care. The decision is also harmful to Private Caregivers by limiting their autonomy and earning potential. Unfortunately, Abby Services, and the individuals we serve, have to recognize these laws or risk penalties for non-compliance.
Many clients will choose to comply by limiting their caregivers to 40 hours per week. Other clients, and caregivers, have chosen to renegotiate their rates to manage the burden of overtime. Should you have any questions please let us know.
One difficult situation arises when a private caregiver chooses to work for multiple clients. Although individual clients may not exceed a 40 hour work week, collectively they may. In these situations caregivers and clients may negotiate a rate that factors overtime requirements, unfortunately, the situations where this is practical are extremely limited and largely impractical.
One mutually favorable scenario clients and their caregivers have requested, and chosen, is an option sometimes referred to as cost-neutral or budget-neutral billing. In this scenario, clients and caregivers negotiate and establish billing and pay rates complying with overtime laws, that would be equal to traditional non-overtime rates. Ultimately the choice on how to manage these issues lies with clients and their caregivers. Should you have any questions please let us know so that we can help, we are here for you.
Many clients and private caregivers have asked what they can do to fight this change. Our lobbying group The PCA (Private Care Association) has proposed Senate Bill S.2221 and House Bill H.R.3860 which is an effort to get the Companionship Exemption Reinstated. There are a lot of Republicans that have agreed to co-sponsor the bill. We are working on getting support from the Democrats. We have had several say they would co-sponsor the bill if other Democrats would also put their names on it. We are urging caregivers, patients, and their families to contact their Congressmen and ask them to support our bill! Here is how to find your congressman.
The following is a letter I have sent to our states Congressional leaders and members of our state Senate:
My name is Scott Strachan. I am an RN and small business owner in Fort Myers, Fl. I own and operate my family’s Nurse Registry which has been serving our area since 1996. Recently the Department of Labor has begun intentionally and aggressively targeting Florida Nurse Registries. Florida Nurse Registries are Licensed and regulated by the Agency for Healthcare Administration and help our senior population find the quality, cost-efficient caregivers they need and want. As of April 2016, there were 554 Licensed Nurse Registries in Florida.
If the DOL continues with its aggressive stance toward our industry, Nurse Registries across the state will be shut down. This will close over 500 Florida small businesses, put thousands of employees out of work, put tens of thousands of clients at risk, and limit tens of thousands of home care workers’ ability to find work. This is a serious crisis for our industry, and for our state, and we need your help.
Our industry requires the ability to correctly and appropriately work together with Independently Employed Private Caregivers. Based on recent reinterpretations, and overly aggressive enforcement of federal law, the DOL is in effect crushing an industry that has served the residents of our state for many years. These actions have broader implications for all Independently Employed individuals, those who use their services, and those who work together with them.
I am asking for your support and intervention on a federal level to protect our state’s residents, business owners, and hardworking caregivers. I will be reaching out to my congressional delegation and members of the senate because I know our state’s small businesses and the services they provide are important to them.
Thank you for your service,
Here is the contact information for our current Florida Congressional Delegation for anyone wishing to voice their concern:
|“Communications Director George M. Cecala” <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Deputy Chief of Staff/Legislative Director Ellen McLaren <email@example.com>,
Legislative Analyst Timothy ‘Tim’ Cummings <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Legislative Assistant Andrew Callahan <email@example.com>,
Legislative Assistant Ashley Rose <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Legislative Assistant Brittany Posobiec <email@example.com>,
“Legislative Assistant Catherine (Skitsko) Harden” <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Legislative Assistant Christopher Ferrer <email@example.com>,
Legislative Assistant Evan Lee <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Legislative Assistant Genesis Robinson <email@example.com>,
Legislative Assistant Reggie Paros <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Legislative Assistant Vanessa Duguay <email@example.com>,
“Legislative Assistant/Director of Outreach J.R. Sanchez” <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Legislative Assistant/Press Assistant James Rockas <email@example.com>,
Legislative Correspondent Alyssa Wang <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Legislative Counsel Alyssa Wootton <email@example.com>,
Legislative Counsel Becca Brown <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
“Legislative Director Diane L. Cihota” <email@example.com>,
Legislative Director Elizabeth Brown <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Legislative Director Hill Thomas <email@example.com>,
Legislative Director Joseph ‘Joe’ Racalto <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Legislative Director Juan McCullum <email@example.com>,
Legislative Director Kelsey Moran <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Legislative Director Sean Brady <email@example.com>,
“Legislative Director Thomas P. Power” <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
“Policy Advisor [Intern Coordinator] Aimee Collins-Mandeville” <email@example.com>,
Policy Advisor Seth Extein <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
“Press Secretary/Senior Legislative Assistant Evan N. Polisar” <email@example.com>,
Senior Legislative Assistant Chris Sweet <firstname.lastname@example.org>