Rep. Tim Walberg introduced two bills to ensure seniors and individuals with disabilities have access to affordable companion care by preventing the Department of Labor from placing costly regulations on families and job creators.
Both bills will prevent the federal government from interfering with decisions that should be made by families. The Protecting In-Home Care from Government Intrusion Act will stop the Secretary of Labor from finalizing or enforcing a proposed rule or any similar rule which would severely narrow the Fair Labor Standards Act's (FLSA) long-standing exemption for caregivers providing in-home companionship. In addition, the Ensuring Access to Affordable and Quality Companion Care Act will clarify that home caregivers employed by a third party employer, or living with the individual receiving care, continue to be exempt from the requirements of FLSA.
In December 2011, the Department of Labor proposed sweeping regulatory changes to a longstanding FLSA exemption for companion care workers. Since 1974, this exemption has helped both seniors and individuals with disabilities maintain access to affordable in-home care. The Department of Labor estimates the cost of companion care under the proposed rule may increase by up to $2.3 billion over the first ten years.
"Our nation has a growing number of elderly and individuals with disabilities who depend on companion care. Unfortunately, the Department of Labor's misguided proposal would limit affordable access to this care. The legislative proposals I have introduced will ensure these vulnerable individuals continue to receive excellent care in the comfort of their own homes and help protect the jobs of America's caregivers," commented Rep. Walberg.