High-risk patients and their home care workers are in grave danger of contracting COVID -19 due to the well-intentioned, but ultimately problematic, 2015 repeal of the Companionship Services Exemption (CSE) under the Fair Labor Standard Act (FSLA).
The provision, established by Congress in 1974, exempted home care workers (caregivers) from FLSA by allowing a caregiver to work for an elderly or disabled person for an extended period without the patient having to pay overtime.
The exemption was essential to the continuity of care, keeping the relationship one-on-one, patient to caregiver. It made care affordable, allowing these individuals to maximize their independence, avoiding institutionalization.
For over 45 years, the CSE balanced the interests of patients and their caregivers.