Companion Over-time Exemption Protection Act: Senate Bill 3280 Update

Live-in senior caregivers are exempt from over-time pay and this works well for both seniors and caregivers as it sort of doesn't make sense to pay someone over-time pay for sleeping at night.  Live-in caregivers are paid a daily stipend and receive additional benefits such as food and are given down-time in the evening and must be able to sleep 8 hours at night.

An exception was made to over-time pay to allow for the daily stipend instead of hourly pay which would mandate over-time pay after 40 hours in a week.  Most professional caregivers do not work more than 40 hours a week if they work as an hourly caregiver, as they definitely need to recharge their batteries and receive adequate time off.  In addition, a senior could not afford to pay for hourly care for 24-hour care which is live-in care.  If a caregiver is required to be awake constantly while with the senior, then 2 different caregivers are rotated on 12-hour shifts, with one caregiver working days and another working nights.  This type of care obviously is rarely needed although it does happen for end-of-life care and then is short-term.

This exemption from the Fair Labor Standards Act would possibly end if a proposed rule by the U.S. Department of Labor is implemented.  However, because the exemption from overtime pay for third party employers delivers advantages for seniors who choose to age-in-place in their own home, Nebraska Senator Mike Johanns introduced a bill which would preserve the companionship services exemption.  An additional 13 senators have co-sponsored the bill and the House of Representatives have a similar bill labeled H.R. 3066 which was introduced in September of 2012.

Status update on S. 3280:

Latest Major Action:  June 7, 2012:  referred to Senate Committee. Status:  Read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

Caregivers interested in supporting the bill may contact their Congressman or Senator.


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