Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Clarification of Home Care Rule as it Relates to Olmstead Implementation

From the U.S. Department of Justice - Civil Rights Division and
Department of Health and Human Services - Office for Civil Rights
December 15, 20104

Dear Colleague:
On October 1, 2013, the Department of Labor promulgated a rule extending the minimum wage and overtime protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to most home care workers (“Home Care Rule”). Application of the Fair Labor Standards Act to Domestic Service, 78 Fed. Reg. 60,454 (Oct. 1, 2013). The Home Care Rule becomes effective on January 1, 2015.1

The Civil Rights Division and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recognize the importance of ensuring adequate workplace protections for home care workers, who provide critical services to millions of Americans. At the same time, it is important that states implement the Department of Labor’s rule in ways that also comply with their obligations under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In particular, because home care workers, such as personal care assistants and home health aides, often provide essential services that enable people with disabilities to live in their own homes and communities instead of in institutions, states should consider whether reasonable modifications are necessary to avoid placing individuals who receive home care services at serious risk of institutionalization or segregation.

The Department of Justice and OCR enforce the rights of people with disabilities to live integrated lives free from unnecessary segregation in institutions. Specifically, Title II of the ADA requires that “no qualified individual with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by any such entity.”2 As directed by Congress, the Attorney General issued regulations implementing Title II, which are based on regulations issued under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.3 The Title II regulations require public entities to “administer services, programs, and activities in the most integrated setting
1 The Department of Labor announced that it will not bring an enforcement action against any employer related to FLSA obligations under the new Home Care Rule before June 30, 2015. It will then use prosecutorial discretion until December 31, 2015 to determine whether to bring enforcement actions, taking into account the good faith efforts of states and other entities to bring their home care programs into compliance with the Home Care Rule. Application of the Fair Labor Standards Act to Domestic Service; Announcement of Time-Limited Non- Enforcement Policy, 79 Fed. Reg. 60,974 (Oct. 9, 2014).

2 42 U.S.C. § 12132 (1990). 3 See id. § 12134(a); 28 C.F.R. § 35.190(a) (1991); Exec. Order No. 12,250 (1980), 45 Fed. Reg. 72,995 (1980), reprinted in 42 U.S.C. § 2000d-1. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 similarly prohibits disability-based discrimination. 29 U.S.C. § 794(a) (“No otherwise qualified individual with a disability . . . shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance . . . .”).

Read complete letter HERE.
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