White House huddles with caregiver group on minimum wage rule

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The rule, which has been under review at the White House since January, would end the so-called “companionship exemption.” The exemption has existed since 1974, and advocates of reform say it was meant for babysitters and helpful neighbors, not professional domestic caregivers.

The effort to reform the law stretches back to the Clinton administration, but labor unions and other supporters of the new regulation are optimistic that President Obama will finally finish the job.

The Private Care Association, which represents registries that refer people to self-employed caregivers, is worried that the new rule would define those registries as “employers” and make them responsible for the aides’ pay.

“A caregiver registry is not a decision maker on any substantive aspect of a home-care relationship,” the organization said in a memo provided to the White House. 

However, the new rule “would expose caregiver registries to potential liability for overtime and/or minimum wage with respect to caregivers ... whom the registry has no control over the hours worked or the pay rate — which are the key factors for determining an employee's right to overtime and minimum wage.”

They asked administration officials to make sure that the registries, which do not set caregivers’ pay rates, are not on the hook for workers' pay under the new rule.

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