Liza Berger headshot
Liza Berger

There is no question that President Biden, from his politics to his style of governing, marks a major departure from his predecessor. At least one field, home care, is likely somewhat nostalgic for the previous administration.

Let’s be honest. In terms of pay and employment issues, the current president has not exactly been a friend of the program.

This week, the National Association for Home Care & Hospice held a webinar about the Department of Labor and how it is turning up the heat on home care companies for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act. Webinar presenter, attorney Angelo Spinola, painted a pretty grim picture. Some of the highlights of the Biden DOL:

  • It is more difficult to classify workers as independent contractors.
  • There are more targeted audits.
  • Litigation is up, with federal lawsuits in Connecticut, Florida, Missouri and Pennsylvania.
  • The DOL has increased funding for investigations.
  • The presumptive wage and hour administrator, David Weil, has a history of targeting companies that use independent contractors, as well as franchise businesses.

One of the major changes that has taken place under Biden has been the withdrawal of three employer-friendly regulations, which Trump’s DOL started. These are the Payroll Audit Independent Determination Program, Independent Contractor Status Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, and Joint Employer Status Under the Fair Labor Standards Act. All of these worked in the favor of home care owners.

With a pro-union secretary, Marty Walsh, it’s pretty obvious what the DOL is after. It wants to make sure that agencies are not exploiting workers. Some of its concerns: agencies not paying overtime and classifying workers as independent contractors to skirt payment and benefit rules.

This is a worthwhile endeavor. As the pandemic has made all too clear, workers are the lifeblood of this business. They deserve to be treated fairly and with respect.

But as with all swings of the political pendulum, sometimes it can go too far. The danger of cracking the whip too much is businesses just may decide it’s time to fold up their tents.  

Liza Berger is editor of McKnight’s Home Care. Email her at [email protected]. Follow her @lizaberger19.

This article originally appeared on McKnight's Senior Living