Originally appeared in an email from the Home Care Association of America on March 28, 2020
Home care has been recognized under the definition of health care, according to the Department of Labor’s recently released FAQs on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
For the last few weeks, under the direction of Shelly Sun, CEO of BrightStar and their leadership team, the HCAOA Board of Directors and HCAOA members have been engaged in a full-court press advocacy effort to have home care part of the health care worker exemption definition for sick leave and family medical leave mandates under FFCRA. Today, with the inclusion of home care in the exemption, those efforts have paid off.
“This proves that when we work together, great things happen,” said HCAOA President Emma Dickison. “This success belongs to every HCAOA member because we did it together and once again it proves that we are better together. With nearly 25,000 messages sent to members of Congress, plus hundreds of letters sent to the Department of Labor, our message that home care plays a critical role in the health care continuum was heard loud and clear."
Dickison encouraged organizations to continue to be great employers.
“While we have the exemption, it does not negate our efforts to always be responsive to our employees’ needs, especially during these tough times. There are programs available from the federal government and the Small Business Administration, such as the paycheck protection program, that will ensure that home care agencies can afford to pay their caregivers should they need time off to care for themselves or other family members. Everyone should look into this available financial assistance for our small businesses."
Below is the excerpt from DOL’s FFCRA FAQs:
Who is a “health care provider” who may be excluded by their employer from paid sick leave and/or expanded family and medical leave?
For the purposes of employees who may be exempted from paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave by their employer under the FFCRA, a health care provider is anyone employed at any doctor’s office, hospital, health care center, clinic, post-secondary educational institution offering health care instruction, medical school, local health department or agency, nursing facility, retirement facility, nursing home, home health care provider, any facility that performs laboratory or medical testing, pharmacy, or any similar institution, employer, or entity. This includes any permanent or temporary institution, facility, location, or site where medical services are provided that are similar to such institutions.