Employment - Joint Employment in Consumer-Directed Programs
Last week, the Department of Labor (DOL) held a briefing to address joint employment in consumer-directed programs as outlined in the Federal Register in October 2013. Officials reviewed an Administrator’s Interpretation from last month that defines companionship services, clarifies the duties test, and limits the use of the companionship services exemption and the live-in domestic service employee overtime exemption to individuals or their representatives only. Most workers in consumer-directed programs will have a third-party joint employer and therefore must be paid in compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage and overtime requirements. However, the exemption may be applied in situations in which the consumer is the sole employer. Third party employers may no longer claim exemptions under this rule. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently released guidance on state options for Medicaid reimbursement for overtime and travel costs that may result from the Final Rule. For more information, please visit www.homecare.gov for a fact sheet and other information related to minimum wage and overtime pay for direct care workers.
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Last week, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) met with members of the disability advocacy community to ask for continued support in urging the Senate’s passage of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The treaty has been placed on the agenda of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee business meeting for mark-up on Tu esday, July 22. Supporters are hopeful that the treaty will pass out of committee and go to the Senate floor for a vote the week of July 28.
The Treaty was adopted by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on December 13, 2006 and was signed by President Obama on June 30, 2009. The Senate took the treaty up for consideration in December of 2012 but fell five votes short of the 67 needed for ratification. To learn more, please see The Arc’s fact sheet and blog entry, as well as a video message from Sen. Harkin. To contact your Senator about this critical issue, please visit The Arc’s Action Center or Tweet using #ISupportCRPD.
Budget & Appropriations – FY 2015 Spending Bills Face Likely Continuing Resolution
Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) announced that, despite having strongly pushed for regular order in the appropriations process, she is now seeking to move an omnibus package of bills for the fiscal year that begins on October 1, 2014. One or more short-term continuing resolutions (CRs) may be necessary if Congress cannot pass all 12 individual spending bills or a combination of bills before October 1. CRs typically provide level funding from the previous year, though they are not required to do so. Read this story from January to see how disability-related programs fared in the FY 2014 spending bill.