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Balancing the “Home Care Rule” and the Olmstead Decision

December 15, 2014
Source: Department of Health and Human Services

Implementation of the Department of Labor’s “Home Care Rule” requires careful thought and planning to ensure the rights of people with disabilities as provided under the Americans with Disabilities Act and clarified in the Olmstead decision. The Acting Assistant Attorney General Director in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and the Director of the Office for Civil Rights for the Department of Health and Human Services explain some of the key considerations in a letter sent to stakeholders at the state level. The letter is available on-line at:

The purpose of the letter is spelled out in the first few paragraphs which read:

“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.

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.”

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