U.S. Appeals Court Upholds Minimum Wage For Home-Care Workers

WASHINGTON, Aug 21 (Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court on Friday upheld a Department of Labor rule requiring employment agencies to pay the minimum wage and overtime to domestic workers providing in-home care for the elderly, sick or disabled.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected a challenge filed by the Home Care Association of America and two other trade associations that represent the agencies. The decision overturns a lower court ruling that had invalidated the 2013 regulation.

The Department of Labor said in the rule that home health aide employment had increased 65 percent between 2001 and 2011 to 924,650 and personal care aide employment doubled to 820,600.

The three-judge panel concluded that the Fair Labor Standards Act gave the Department of Labor authority to determine which in-home care services are exempt from minimum wage and overtime protections. The minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.

"The Department's decision to extend the FLSA's protections to those employees is grounded in a reasonable interpretation of the statute and is neither arbitrary nor capricious," Judge Sri Srinivasan wrote on behalf of the court.

The case is Home Care Association of America v. Weil, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, No. 15-5018. (Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Additional reporting by Robert Iafolla; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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