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New home-care worker pay rules cleared

Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., on Tuesday afternoon cleared the way for home-care workers who are hired by businesses to be eligible for minimum wages and overtime pay, beginning next Tuesday.  The Chief Justice signed a simple order, without explanation, denying a request by three home-care industry groups for a delay of new Labor Department rules.  He acted alone and without seeking a reaction from the department.

Last month, the industry groups, arguing that the new rules would lead to the loss of home care for millions of elderly and disabled individuals, sought a delay until they could file a challenge to a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, upholding the rules.

For decades, the Labor Department had followed a policy that home-care workers were not eligible for minimum wage and overtime pay provisions of federal law.  Two years ago, it changed its mind, concluding that the home-care industry had changed markedly, with fewer patients being treated in nursing homes and hospitals and more receiving care at home.

The new rules do not apply to home-care workers who are hired directly by patients or their families, but only to those who are employed through businesses.  The rules will go into effect when the D.C. Circuit issues the formal order implementing its August 21 decision.   The industry groups filed their postponement request with Roberts because he handles emergency filings from the D.C. Circuit.

The Chief Justice’s order simply turned down a request to postpone the implementation of the rules.  The industry groups had said they would be filing a full appeal to challenge the changes.  The Chief Justice’s order does not necessarily mean that such an appeal, if it is now filed, would be turned away, but one of the factors in deciding for or against a delay of a lower court order is whether the Supreme Court is likely to take on the issue.



Recommended Citation: Lyle Denniston, New home-care worker pay rules cleared, SCOTUSblog (Oct. 6, 2015, 4:03 PM),