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08.01.2010 Companionship Services Exemption Compliance
08. 2010
This article appeared in the August edition of The Voice. The Voice is a regular publication of the National Private Duty Association, the voice of the private duty home care industry. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., this national trade association has over 1,200 private pay home care agency members in 49 states. For more information, visit www.privatedutyhomecare.org. The article is reprint here with permission. © 2010

Companionship Services Exemption Compliance
The companionship services exemption of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is an important issue faced by health care employers on a regular basis. To fall within this narrowly applied exemption, the following requirements must be satisfied: (1) an employee must perform services for the care, fellowship, and protection of person who, because of advanced age or physical or mental infirmity, cannot care for themselves; (2) general household work performed may not exceed 20% of the total weekly hours worked by the employee; (3) the work performed must not be of a type which requires and is performed by trained personnel, such as registered or licensed practical nurses; and (4) the services must be provided in or about the aged or infirm individual’s private residence. The accurate classification of companions will both provide invaluable piece of mind and avoid potential significant liability for unpaid wages and penalties.