Live In Home Care San Diego – Is It Legal

April 25, 2018 0

As you search San Diego in home care providers, you may come across the term “liv-in” home care. Upon first glance San Diego  live in home care may seem like the perfect solution to your home care needs. But, what do providers mean by live in care? Well, it depends on the person using the term.

The umbrella term live in care includes several different arrangements that you might come across. This article addresses San Diego live in care arrangements and covers the pros and cons associated with each care structure.

Live In Care Through a Licensed Agency

San Diego home care agencies still use the term live in care, though the delivery of these services have changed dramatically. Before changes in overtime laws and home care licensure in California, San Diego home care agencies could offer massive discounts for home care that spanned an entire 24 hour period. Care that lasted 24 hours or more was called live in home care. Caregivers stayed at a client’s home for days on end. 8 hours of “sleep time” were deducted from the employee’s paycheck even though the caregiver could not leave the premise. Meals were provided by the client and the cost of the meals was further deducted from the employee’s paycheck.

After legislative changes, agencies could no longer apply the 8 hour sleep time reduction. Overtime laws became stricter and food deductions became more difficult to use. Licensure pushed agencies to conform to mainstream wage and hour practices.

Current State of San Diego Agency Home Care

Now, agencies pay caregivers time and ½ for all hours over 9 hours worked in a 24 hour period. This makes leaving one person on for more than 9 hours extremely cost prohibitive. 24 hour home care clients experienced a significant increase in the cost of home care. Volume discounts for live in home care disappeared.

San Diego live in home care agencies restructured operations to meet the new legal requirements. Many agencies now limit care shifts to 8 hours. They staff three people for a 24 hour shift rather than one. This change makes financial sense but creates a lot of daily change for clients. Clients sensitive to new faces and disturbances may find these constant shift changes disruptive.

Other San Diego home care organizations split live in shifts into two 12 hour shifts in a 24 hour period. They still pay overtime for the last three hours worked but opt for a staffing solution with less disruption. Some agencies pass the overtime charges on to clients and charge time and ½ for shifts longer than 9 hours. Green Tree Home Care does not charge clients overtime for longer shifts. We believe consistency and care continuity are essential. We don’t want to burden our clients with complicated overtime rate calculations so we keep the rate constant regardless of overtime.

The term live in home care no long means one person for 24 plus hours of home care. Agencies will still use the words live in but they staff 2-3 people per 24 hour shift. Make sure you ask your prospect agency if they charge overtime to clients and how many people they use to staff a 24 hour period. For the least amount of upheaval chose and organization that doesn’t charge overtime and staffs a max of 2 caregivers in a 24 hour period.

Live In Home Care from a Private Caregiver or Domestic Referral Agency

Live in arrangements are still relatively common in the world of private caregiving. Many people believe they are exempt from the laws that regulate San Diego home care agencies if caregivers receive an IRS 1099 form. Unfortunately, according to United States Department of Labor, an individual is classified as a W2 employee when she is economically dependent on an employer and is not in business for herself. There are several other factors that support the W2 status of caregivers over 1099 contractor status.

While some accountants and CPAs still may advise 1099 status for caregivers, legal trends point to W2 status as the safest bet. Reporting caregivers to the IRS is important. Penalties for misclassifying caregivers are often steep. If you misclassify a home caregiver, you may responsible for back pay for overtime wages.

Live In Home Care in Exchange for Room and Board

This is the most risky live in arrangement. There are a lot of laws that impact the viability of rent in exchange for caregiving. Basically  Rental agreement laws favor renters in the state of California. The moment you include rent in exchange for a caregiving you enter into a renter/landlord arrangement on top of the employer/employee relationship. There are several cases where caregivers were terminated for cause and the care recipient still had to go through the legal eviction process to remove the caregiver from the home.

Closing Thoughts

When arranging San Diego live in home care make sure to ask what type of arrangement the home care provider proposes. You now have a solid understanding of how the legal considerations surrounding live in home care. If you use the services of a licensed home care like Green Tree Home Care you will have 2-3 caregivers per day. You can hire a private caregiver but need to ensure you follow wage and hour laws. It is highly recommended you do not mix rent and compensation as it complicates the employer/employee relationship.

For more information about San Diego home care check out this article:

San Diego Home Care – Everything You Need to Know


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