California Domestic Workers Coalition

Under federal law, a companion is a caregiver who provides fellowship and protection to seniors and people with disabilities. Assistance with daily care activities such as dressing/grooming, housework, transferring, and meal preparation cannot be more than 20 percent of the total hours worked per week to be considered a companion. Domestic services performed primarily for other household members and medically-related services for the person are not companionship services.

If you are a companion hired directly by the household (direct hire), you are NOT entitled to federal overtime (after 40 hours in a week). However, you will be entitled to state overtime laws.

Am I a Companion?

Companion Duties (Fellowship & Protection)Non-Companion Duties (Personal Care)
Hobbies (example: crafts, reading)Dressing
Playing games (example: cards, chess)Grooming
Keeping company (conversation)Bathing
Accompanying on walks, errands, appointments, social events
Assisting with other daily activities
Time Spent: 80% or more of your total work timeTime Spent: 20% or less of your total work time
Example: If you work 40 hours a week and spend 32 hours or more on
above duties, you are a companion
Example: If you work 40 hours a week and spend more than 8 hours on above duties, you are NOT considered a companion.

Starting January 1, 2015, all domestic workers except live-in domestic workers and companions hired directly by the household (direct hire) get federal overtime after 40 hours in a week. Workers who are exempt under federal law may have protections under state law.