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e-CFR Data is current as of January 30, 2013


Title 29: Labor

Browse Part 541 | Browse Part 553

PART 552—APPLICATION OF THE FAIR LABOR STANDARDS ACT TO DOMESTIC SERVICE

Section Contents

Subpart A—General Regulations

§ 552.1   Terms used in regulations.
§ 552.2   Purpose and scope.
§ 552.3   Domestic service employment.
§ 552.4   Babysitting services.
§ 552.5   Casual basis.
§ 552.6   Companionship services for the aged or infirm.

Subpart B—Interpretations

§ 552.99   Basis for coverage of domestic service employees.
§ 552.100   Application of minimum wage and overtime provisions.
§ 552.101   Domestic service employment.
§ 552.102   Live-in domestic service employees.
§ 552.103   Babysitting services in general.
§ 552.104   Babysitting services performed on a casual basis.
§ 552.105   Individuals performing babysitting services in their own homes.
§ 552.106   Companionship services for the aged or infirm.
§ 552.107   Yard maintenance workers.
§ 552.108   Child labor provisions.
§ 552.109   Third party employment.
§ 552.110   Recordkeeping requirements.


Authority:   Secs. 13(a)(15) and 13(b)(21) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, as amended (29 U.S.C. 213(a)(15), (b)(21)), 88 Stat. 62; Sec. 29(b) of the Fair Labor Standards Amendments of 1974 (Pub. L. 93–259, 88 Stat. 76), unless otherwise noted.

Source:   40 FR 7405, Feb. 20, 1975, unless otherwise noted.

Subpart A—General Regulations
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§ 552.1   Terms used in regulations.
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(a) Administrator means the Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division, U.S. Department of Labor, or the Administrator's authorized representative.

(b) Act means the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as amended.

§ 552.2   Purpose and scope.
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(a) This part provides necessary rules for the application of the Act to domestic service employment in accordance with the following amendments made by the Fair Labor Standards Amendments of 1974, 88 Stat. 55, et seq.

(b) Section 2(a) of the Act finds that the “employment of persons in domestic service in households affects commerce.” Section 6(f) extends the minimum wage protection under section 6(b) to employees employed as domestic service employees under either of the following circumstances:

(1) If the employee's compensation for such services from his/her employer would constitute wages under section 209(a)(6) of title II of the Social Security Act, that is, if the cash remuneration during a calendar year is not less than $1,000 in 1995, or the amount designated for subsequent years pursuant to the adjustment provision in section 3121(x) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986; or

(2) If the employee was employed in such domestic service work by one or more employers for more than 8 hours in the aggregate in any workweek.

Section 7(l) extends generally the protection of the overtime provisions of section 7(a) to such domestic service employees. Section 13(a)(15) provides both a minimum wage and overtime exemption for “employees employed on a casual basis in domestic service employment to provide babysitting services” and for domestic service employees employed” to provide companionship services for individuals who (because of age or infirmity) are unable to care for themselves.” Section 13(b)(21) provides an overtime exemption for domestic service employees who reside in the household in which they are employed.

(c) The definitions required by section 13(a)(15) are contained in §§552.3, 552.4, 552.5 and 552.6.

(Sec. 29(b), 88 Stat. 76; (29 U.S.C. 206(f)); Secretary's Order No. 16–75, dated Nov. 25, 1975 (40 FR 55913), and Employment Standards Order No. 76–2, dated Feb. 23, 1976 (41 FR 9016))

[40 FR 7405, Feb. 20, 1975, as amended at 44 FR 37221, June 26, 1979; 60 FR 46767, 46768, Sept. 8, 1995]

§ 552.3   Domestic service employment.
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As used in section 13(a)(15) of the Act, the term domestic service employment refers to services of a household nature performed by an employee in or about a private home (permanent or temporary) of the person by whom he or she is employed. The term includes employees such as cooks, waiters, butlers, valets, maids, housekeepers, governesses, nurses, janitors, laundresses, caretakers, handymen, gardeners, footmen, grooms, and chauffeurs of automobiles for family use. It also includes babysitters employed on other than a casual basis. This listing is illustrative and not exhaustive.

§ 552.4   Babysitting services.
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As used in section 13(a)(15) of the Act, the term babysitting services shall mean the custodial care and protection, during any part of the 24-hour day, of infants or children in or about the private home in which the infants or young children reside. The term “babysitting services” does not include services relating to the care and protection of infants or children which are performed by trained personnel, such as registered, vocational, or practical nurses. While such trained personnel do not qualify as babysitters, this fact does not remove them from the category of a covered domestic service employee when employed in or about a private household.

§ 552.5   Casual basis.
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As used in section 13(a)(15) of the Act, the term casual basis, when applied to babysitting services, shall mean employment which is irregular or intermittent, and which is not performed by an individual whose vocation is babysitting. Casual babysitting services may include the performance of some household work not related to caring for the children: Provided, however, That such work is incidental, i.e., does not exceed 20 percent of the total hours worked on the particular babysitting assignment.

§ 552.6   Companionship services for the aged or infirm.
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As used in section 13(a)(15) of the Act, the term companionship services shall mean those services which provide fellowship, care, and protection for a person who, because of advanced age or physical or mental infirmity, cannot care for his or her own needs. Such services may include household work related to the care of the aged or infirm person such as meal preparation, bed making, washing of clothes, and other similar services. They may also include the performance of general household work: Provided, however, That such work is incidental, i.e., does not exceed 20 percent of the total weekly hours worked. The term “companionship services” does not include services relating to the care and protection of the aged or infirm which require and are performed by trained personnel, such as a registered or practical nurse. While such trained personnel do not qualify as companions, this fact does not remove them from the category of covered domestic service employees when employed in or about a private household.

Subpart B—Interpretations
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§ 552.99   Basis for coverage of domestic service employees.
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Congress in section 2(a) of the Act specifically found that the employment of persons in domestic service in households affects commerce. In the legislative history it was pointed out that employees in domestic service employment handle goods such as soaps, mops, detergents, and vacuum cleaners that have moved in or were produced for interstate commerce and also that they free members of the household to themselves to engage in activities in interstate commerce (S. Rep. 93–690, pp. 21–22). The Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare “took note of the expanded use of the interstate commerce clause by the Supreme Court in numerous recent cases (particularly Katzenbach v. McClung, 379 U.S. 294 (1964)),” and concluded “that coverage of domestic employees is a vital step in the direction of ensuring that all workers affecting interstate commerce are protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act” (S. Rep. 93–690, pp. 21–22).

§ 552.100   Application of minimum wage and overtime provisions.
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(a)(1) Domestic service employees must receive for employment in any household a minimum wage of not less than that required by section 6(a) of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

(2) In addition, domestic service employees who work more than 40 hours in any one workweek for the same employer must be paid overtime compensation at a rate not less than one and one-half times the employee's regular rate of pay for such excess hours, unless the employee is one who resides in the employer's household. In the case of employees who reside in the household where they are employed, section 13(b)(21) of the Act provides an overtime, but not a minimum wage, exemption. See §552.102.

(b) In meeting the wage responsibilities imposed by the Act, employers may take appropriate credit for the reasonable cost or fair value, as determined by the Administrator, of food, lodging and other facilities customarily furnished to the employee by the employer such as drugs, cosmetics, drycleaning, etc. See S. Rep. 93–690, p. 19, and section 3(m) of the Act. Credit may be taken for the reasonable cost or fair value of these facilities only when the employee's acceptance of them is voluntary and uncoerced. See regulations, part 531. Where uniforms are required by the employer, the cost of the uniforms and their care may not be included in such credit.

(c) For enforcement purposes, the Administrator will accept a credit taken by the employer of up to 37.5 percent of the statutory minimum hourly wage for a breakfast (if furnished), up to 50 percent of the statutory minimum hourly wage for a lunch (if furnished), and up to 62.5 percent of the statutory minimum hourly wage for a dinner (if furnished), which meal credits when combined do not in total exceed 150 percent of the statutory minimum hourly wage for any day. Nothing herein shall prevent employers from crediting themselves with the actual cost or fair value of furnishing meals, whichever is less, as determined in accordance with part 531 of this chapter, if such cost or fair value is different from the meal credits specified above: Provided, however, that employers keep, maintain and preserve (for a period of 3 years) the records on which they rely to justify such different cost figures.

(d) In the case of lodging furnished to live-in domestic service employees, the Administrator will accept a credit taken by the employer of up to seven and one-half times the statutory minimum hourly wage for each week lodging is furnished. Nothing herein shall prevent employers from crediting themselves with the actual cost or fair value of furnishing lodging, whichever is less, as determined in accordance with part 531 of this chapter, if such cost or fair value is different from the amount specified above, provided, however, that employers keep, maintain, and preserve (for a period of 3 years) the records on which they rely to justify such different cost figures. In determining reasonable cost or fair value, the regulations and rulings in 29 CFR part 531 are applicable.

(Sec. 29(b), 88 Stat. 76; (29 U.S.C. 206(f)); Secretary's Order No. 16–75, dated Nov. 25, 1975 (40 FR 55913), and Employment Standards Order No. 76–2, dated Feb. 23, 1976 (41 FR 9016))

[40 FR 7405, Feb. 20, 1975, as amended at 44 FR 6716, Feb. 2, 1979; 60 FR 46768, Sept. 8, 1995]

§ 552.101   Domestic service employment.
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(a) The definition of domestic service employment contained in §552.3 is derived from the regulations issued under the Social Security Act (20 CFR 404.1057) and from “the generally accepted meaning” of the term. Accordingly, the term includes persons who are frequently referred to as “private household workers.” See S. Rep. 93–690, p. 20. The domestic service must be performed in or about the private home of the employer whether that home is a fixed place of abode or a temporary dwelling as in the case of an individual or family traveling on vacation. A separate and distinct dwelling maintained by an individual or a family in an apartment house, condominium or hotel may constitute a private home.

(b) Employees employed in dwelling places which are primarily rooming or boarding houses are not considered domestic service employees. The places where they work are not private homes but commercial or business establishments. Likewise, employees employed in connection with a business or professional service which is conducted in a home (such as a real estate, doctor's, dentist's or lawyer's office) are not domestic service employees.

(c) In determining the total hours worked, the employer must include all time the employee is required to be on the premises or on duty and all time the employee is suffered or permitted to work. Special rules for live-in domestic service employees are set forth in §552.102.

[40 FR 7405, Feb. 20, 1975, as amended at 60 FR 46768, Sept. 8, 1995]

§ 552.102   Live-in domestic service employees.
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(a) Domestic service employees who reside in the household where they are employed are entitled to the same minimum wage as domestic service employees who work by the day. However, section 13(b)(21) provides an exemption from the Act's overtime requirements for domestic service employees who reside in the household where employed. But this exemption does not excuse the employer from paying the live-in worker at the applicable minimum wage rate for all hours worked. In determining the number of hours worked by a live-in worker, the employee and the employer may exclude, by agreement between themselves, the amount of sleeping time, meal time and other periods of complete freedom from all duties when the employee may either leave the premises or stay on the premises for purely personal pursuits. For periods of free time (other than those relating to meals and sleeping) to be excluded from hours worked, the periods must be of sufficient duration to enable the employee to make effective use of the time. If the sleeping time, meal periods or other periods of free time are interrupted by a call to duty, the interruption must be counted as hours worked. See regulations part 785, §785.23.

(b) Where there is a reasonable agreement, as indicated in (a) above, it may be used to establish the employee's hours of work in lieu of maintaining precise records of the hours actually worked. The employer shall keep a copy of the agreement and indicate that the employee's work time generally coincides with the agreement. If it is found by the parties that there is a significant deviation from the initial agreement, a separate record should be kept for that period or a new agreement should be reached that reflects the actual facts.

§ 552.103   Babysitting services in general.
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The term “babysitting services” is defined in §552.4. Babysitting is a form of domestic service, and babysitters other than those working on a casual basis are entitled to the same benefits under the Act as other domestic service employees.

§ 552.104   Babysitting services performed on a casual basis.
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(a) Employees performing babysitting services on a casual basis, as defined in §552.5 are excluded from the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Act. The rationale for this exclusion is that such persons are usually not dependent upon the income from rendering such services for their livelihood. Such services are often provided by (1) Teenagers during non-school hours or for a short period after completing high school but prior to entering other employment as a vocation, or (2) older persons whose main source of livelihood is from other means.

(b) Employment in babysitting services would usually be on a “casual basis,” whether performed for one or more employees, if such employment by all such employers does not exceed 20 hours per week in the aggregate. Employment in excess of these hours may still be on a “casual basis” if the excessive hours of employment are without regularity or are for irregular or intermittent periods. Employment in babysitting services shall also be deemed to be on a “casual basis” (regardless of the number of weekly hours worked by the babysitter) in the case of individuals whose vocations are not domestic service who accompany families for a vacation period to take care of the children if the duration of such employment does not exceed 6 weeks.

(c) If the individual performing babysitting services on a “casual basis” devotes more than 20 percent of his or her time to household work during a babysitting assignment, the exemption for “babysitting services on a casual basis” does not apply during that assignment and the individual must be paid in accordance with the Act's minimum wage and overtime requirements. This does not affect the application of the exemption for previous or subsequent babysitting assignments where the 20 percent tolerance is not exceeded.

(d) Individuals who engage in babysitting as a full-time occupation are not employed on a “casual basis.”

[40 FR 7405, Feb. 20, 1975, as amended at 60 FR 46768, Sept. 8, 1995]

§ 552.105   Individuals performing babysitting services in their own homes.
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(a) It is clear from the legislative history that the Act's new coverage of domestic service employees is limited to those persons who perform such services in or about the private household of the employer. Accordingly, if such services are performed away from the employer's permanent, or temporary household there is no coverage under sections 6(f) and 7(l) of the Act. A typical example would be an individual who cares for the children of others in her own home. This type of operation, however, could, depending on the particular facts, qualify as a preschool or day care center and thus be covered under section 3(s)(1)(B) of the Act in which case the person providing the service would be required to comply with the applicable provisions of the Act.

(b) An individual in a local neighborhood who takes four or five children into his or her home, which is operated as a day care home, and who does not have more than one employee or whose only employees are members of that individual's immediate family is not covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act.

[40 FR 7405, Feb. 20, 1975, as amended at 60 FR 46768, Sept. 8, 1995]

§ 552.106   Companionship services for the aged or infirm.
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The term “companionship services for the aged or infirm” is defined in §552.6. Persons who provide care and protection for babies and young children, who are not physically or mentally infirm, are considered babysitters, not companions. The companion must perform the services with respect to the aged or infirm persons and not generally to other persons. The “casual” limitation does not apply to companion services.

§ 552.107   Yard maintenance workers.
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Persons who mow lawns and perform other yard work in a neighborhood community generally provide their own equipment, set their own work schedule and occasionally hire other individuals. Such persons will be recognized as independent contractors who are not covered by the Act as domestic service employees. On the other hand, gardeners and yardmen employed primarily by one household are not usually independent contractors.

§ 552.108   Child labor provisions.
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Congress made no change in section 12 as regards domestic service employees. Accordingly, the child labor provisions of the Act do not apply unless the underaged minor (a) is individually engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce, or (b) is employed by an enterprise meeting the coverage tests of sections 3(r) and 3(s)(1) of the Act, or (c) is employed in or about a home where work in the production of goods for commerce is performed.

§ 552.109   Third party employment.
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(a) Employees who are engaged in providing companionship services, as defined in §552.6, and who are employed by an employer or agency other than the family or household using their services, are exempt from the Act's minimum wage and overtime pay requirements by virtue of section 13(a)(15). Assigning such an employee to more than one household or family in the same workweek would not defeat the exemption for that workweek, provided that the services rendered during each assignment come within the definition of companionship services.

(b) Employees who are engaged in providing babysitting services and who are employed by an employer or agency other than the family or household using their services are not employed on a “casual basis” for purposes of the section 13(a)(15) exemption. Such employees are engaged in this occupation as a vocation.

(c) Live-in domestic service employees who are employed by an employer or agency other than the family or household using their services are exempt from the Act's overtime requirements by virtue of section 13(b)(21). This exemption, however, will not apply where the employee works only temporarily for any one family or household, since that employee would not be “residing” on the premises of such family or household.

§ 552.110   Recordkeeping requirements.
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(a) The general recordkeeping regulations are found in part 516 of this chapter and they require that every employer having covered domestic service employees shall keep records which show for each such employee: (1) Name in full, (2) social security number, (3) address in full, including zip code, (4) total hours worked each week by the employee for the employer, (5) total cash wages paid each week to the employee by the employer, (6) weekly sums claimed by the employer for board, lodging or other facilities, and (7) extra pay for weekly hours worked in excess of 40 by the employee for the employer. No particular form of records is required, so long as the above information is recorded and the record is maintained and preserved for a period of 3 years.

(b) In the case of an employee who resides on the premises, records of the actual hours worked are not required. Instead, the employer may maintain a copy of the agreement referred to in §552.102. The more limited recordkeeping requirement provided by this subsection does not apply to third party employers. No records are required for casual babysitters.

(c) Where a domestic service employee works on a fixed schedule, the employer may use a schedule of daily and weekly hours that the employee normally works and either the employer or the employee may: (1) Indicate by check marks, statement or other method that such hours were actually worked, and (2) when more or less than the scheduled hours are worked, show the exact number of hours worked.

(d) The employer may require the domestic service employee to record the hours worked and submit such record to the employer.

 

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