Recently I was talking with one of our Rosemark customers, someone I have spent a lot of time with working through the changes and implications of those changes related to the FLSA changes that have had the home care industry in such a whirl. This agency owner has been particularly proactive about digging into the details and implications of these changes; he has been an important sounding board and source of information for my own quest for understanding.
In the middle of a particularly difficult discussion about the potential dangers of ignoring these changes, we then had an exchange something like this:
Him: “I really like slinkies, but when they get a kink in them they’re just never the same”.
Me: “Yeah, sort of like these employment law changes, huh?”
Him: “Yes, that’s a good analogy for this whole mess.”
Me: “Yep, there’s a kink in the slinky alright.”
We laughed about this, but there’s something to it. Having spent countless hours talking, plotting, and planning with and consoling customers about the “end of the Companionship Exemption” in the FLSA, it has been a bizarre, almost surreal experience to have U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon vacate first the Third-party employer exclusion and then the redefinition of “Companionship” at the 11th hour.
While many people are breathing a sigh of relief, the fact is we don’t really know where this is going to end up. It seems like the DOL (Department of Labor) will appeal this and try to get in front of a more sympathetic (to their cause) judge. If it does go into effect eventually, will the changes be made retroactively? How can home care agency owners be confident that they are doing the right thing and being in compliance with such a swirl of inconclusive and ungroundable information floating around?
Time will tell. But once a slinky is bent, it is never quite the same. And there’s definitely a kink in the slinky!