Florida Attorney answers question about live-in caregivers

Question:  My 95-year old Aunt who lives in Florida has a private, live in – caregiver.  The caregiver insists that Florida Law requires 2 hours off for every 12 hours worked.  She says if she doesn’t actually take time off, she’s entitled to pay.  She’s basically charging my Aunt for 28 hours a day!

Does Florida Law require this?  What are rules / standards for live-in caregivers who work 24/7?

Answer:  Although this is more of a Labor Law question (not my field of expertise) than an Elder Law question, I will offer what I do know.  Federal Labor laws generally govern wage and overtime requirements.  Presently, however, in-home health care “professionals” are exempt from those laws meaning that the employer is not required to comply with those minimum wage and overtime regulations.  I can tell you that the industry standard for in-home health professionals is that they are to have at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night.  Your fact scenario then raises an interesting question, if your aunt’s caregiver is not getting 8 hours of sleep at night, the quality of care and attention your aunt is receiving from this person could be compromised.

Although there is some movement in the Department of Labor in Washington to remove the exemption as it applies to professional home health care providers, I know of no one in the home care provider field who recognizes the “two hours off of or two hours of pay” you speak of.  If this is an independent provider she may either have misconstrued something she heard or is making up her own employment requirements.   You can visit the website for Labor and investigate the status of the pending work on the revising the exemption statute at www.dol.gov.

Beverly J. White, Esq.
The Law Firm of Beverly J. White, P.A.
Tampa, Florida  33624
Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, Florida chapter 

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