NY DOL clarifies “hours worked” for home health workers

The New York Department of Labor (DOL) has issued an emergency regulation to clarify that hours worked for home care aides who work shifts of 24 hours or more may exclude meal periods and sleep times.

It was determined that the emergency regulation was needed in the face of recent decisions by the State Appellate Divisions (which treated meal periods and sleep time by home care aides who work shifts of 24 hours or more as hours worked for purposes of state (but not federal) minimum wage), in order to preserve the status quo, prevent the collapse of the home care industry, and avoid institutionalizing patients who could be cared for at home.

The emergency regulation amends the relevant regulations to codify the Commissioner’s longstanding and consistent interpretations that such meal periods and sleep times do not constitute hours worked for purposes of minimum wage and overtime requirements. (New York Department of Labor, Emergency Rule Making, Home Care Aide Hours Worked, LAB-17-18-00005-E, June 1, 2018, effective June 3, 2018.)

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