Newly confirmed Secretary of Labor Tom Perez met with several members of the disability community on Monday, August 19, to discuss the Companionship Exemption under review by the Division of Wage and Hour, Department of Labor.
The“companionship exemption” currently excludes home care workers from federal minimum wage and overtime protection. Proposed regulations would significantly narrow the definition of what type of support arrangement is exempted, and provide equitable wage protections for direct support workers. TASH provided comments on the proposed rule-making on the Companionship Exemption in March, 2012 (view it here). At the meeting with Secretary Perez, TASH Executive Director Barb Trader emphasized the need to protect wages of direct support workers, while at the same time, ensuring that exemptions remain to support innovative and creative arrangements that allow people with significant support needs to live at home rather than a group or institutional setting.
The final rule will be announced later this year.