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US DoL Direct Care Worker Pay Requirements

The United States Department of Labor (DOL) Direct Care Worker pay requirements can be tricky to understand. Here’s what you should know: What does the DOL consider a Direct Care Worker? According to the DOL, Direct Care Workers are workers who provide home care services, such as CNAs, home health aides and personal care aides. The DOL also considers caregivers and companions to be Direct Care Workers. What are the basic pay requirements laid out by the DOL for Direct Care Workers? As of January 2015, you must pay the federal minimum wage and overtime to any direct care worker you employ, regardless of whether you are a joint or sole employer. The duties of the direct care worker have no bearing on this requirement. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. It is important to know that many states have also set their own minimum wage. For these states, the direct care worker is entitled to the higher minimum wage. Since direct care workers are protected by federal overtime pay regulations, they should be paid at a rate that is not less than one and one-half times their regular rate of pay after they have reached 40 hours of work in a week. Travel time and sleep time may be considered work hours in some cases. Employers are federally required to keep records of work hours, including overtime, travel and breaks. If the records seem off, audits are levied and penalties apply to those found not to be in compliance.

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