Overtime for Direct Care Workers

Accurate Timekeeping and Effective Scheduling Now More Important

Effective January 1, 2015, direct care workers employed by agencies and other third-party employers are entitled to receive at least the federal minimum wage and overtime pay.

Direct care workers provide home care services, such as certified nursing assistants, home health aides, personal care aides, caregivers, and companions.

For any home care agency or other third party employer, it will be required to pay at least the federal minimum wage and overtime pay to any direct care worker you jointly or solely employ, regardless of the worker’s duties.

Also effective January 1, 2015, agencies and other third party employers may no longer claim the overtime pay exemption for live-in domestic service workers.

Minimum wage

The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 an hour, though many states have their own minimum wage laws. When a worker is protected by both state and federal minimum wage laws, the worker is entitled to the higher minimum wage.

Overtime

Workers who are covered under federal overtime pay protections must be paid at a rate not less than one and one-half times their regular rate of pay after 40 hours of work in a workweek.

Recordkeeping

Agencies are also required to keep accurate and complete employee time and pay records for any nonexempt direct care worker employed, including hours worked.

New U.S. Regulations for Home Care Aides

The expansion of minimum wage and overtime rules to include nearly 2 million home care workers reinforces the need for human service agencies to use effective scheduling solutions. In the future, these employees will be covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act and entitled to overtime. Without effective scheduling, human service agencies will risk incurring additional payroll costs in the form of overtime.

Without the right scheduling tools, an agency cannot avoid unnecessary overtime or find the most suitable employee to fill open positions.  As a result, some employees are over-scheduled while other employees are under-scheduled. This practice creates cost overruns, lowers operational efficiency, and threatens the future of agencies when there is little room for error.

Fortunately, MITC Advanced Employee Scheduling provides all the tools managers and schedulers need to avoid overtime, such as an availability query that can automatically ignore employees in overtime or approaching overtime. In addition, MITC Time and Attendance delivers real time reporting of hours worked and can help hold careless managers accountable by highlighting managers or schedulers whose overtime is unacceptable.

Furthermore, with advanced employee scheduling agencies are better able to plan ahead, publish schedules for employees, and use schedule prompting to remind employees by email or text message of their next shift. All of these tools combine to minimize absenteeism, which in turn minimizes other employees being asked to work extra hours.