Ask the Experts: The #1 Private Duty Employment Question for Private Duty

Through a partnership with Littler Mendelson P.C Labor & Employment Law Solutions, we are excited to share the “Ask the Experts” Article. Each week, we will feature a new question, from you our members, related to workplace issues and topics that will be answered from our experts and partners at Littler. 

This week’s question comes from one of our private duty home care members and concerns what the number one question Littler receives and addresses on a regular basis.

Question: What is the number one employment law question Littler receives from private duty home care operators?

Answer by Will Vail 

The number one question we get is how to operate a live-in arrangement in a legally compliant manner.  The first thing home care agencies should know is that live-in arrangements aren’t illegal (some think they are).  But to operate in a compliant manner, you would want to look at both federal and state law.  Under federal law, the agreement should be in writing to stand the best chance of surviving any sort of scrutiny of your arrangement.  The number of hours worked versus non-working hours in a day will depend on state law as well as whether the caregiver falls within the definition of a live-in.  Generally, state law will dictate whether you can deduct time spent on meals.  And meeting the definition of live-in determines whether the parties can exclude other non-working time during the day. If you are considering setting up a live-in line of business, you should talk to an attorney to make sure you begin and execute the process in a compliant manner.

Do you have a question for our experts at Littler?

As part of our commitment to you as our members we want to make sure to support you with the information and leadership expertise you need to provide quality private duty home care and services.

If you have a question for our experts at Littler, please feel free to send your question to and we will work to get your question answered as quickly as possible and then featured in an upcoming Ask the Experts section of the Private Duty Source. 

About Littler

At Littler, we understand that workplace issues can’t wait. With access to more than 1,500 employment attorneys in over 80 offices around the world, our clients don’t have to. We aim to go beyond best practices, creating solutions that help clients navigate a complex business world. With deep experience and resources that are local, everywhere, we are fully focused on your business. With a diverse team of the brightest minds, we foster a culture that celebrates original thinking. And with powerful proprietary technology, we disrupt the status quo – delivering groundbreaking innovation that prepares employers not just for what’s happening today, but for what’s likely to happen tomorrow. For over 75 years, our firm has harnessed these strengths to offer fresh perspectives on each matter we advise, litigate, mediate, and negotiate. Because at Littler, we’re fueled by ingenuity and inspired by you.

About Will Vail, Special Council

William Vail brings a wealth of private practice and in-house experience to every matter he handles. For nearly seven years, he was lead employment counsel two separate divisions of largest post-acute health care provider in the nation (the home health, hospice and community care division and nursing center division). He later was lead employment and litigation counsel for the largest home health and hospice provider in the nation following a corporate reorganization. In addition to a wide variety of employment issues, Will is familiar with False Claims Act, professional liability and general liability matters related to healthcare operations. 

Will is a core member of Littler’s healthcare practice group. He has experience litigating across the United States, providing advice and counsel to both legal and non-legal stakeholders, performing due diligence related to mergers and acquisitions, helping start-ups begin operations in a compliant method, winding down operations, conducting management training, and assisting in the integration of new entities into going concerns. 

William Vail began his legal career in 2004 as a law clerk to a federal judge sitting in the Western District of Virginia. He then transitioned to private practice in Louisville, Kentucky, for a regional full-service firm and later a national labor and employment boutique firm. At Littler, Will is based in Louisville as well as Atlanta. 

*Not licensed to practice law in Georgia