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Matthew Hallisey, left, of Matthew Hallisey Government Affairs and Sami Asaad of McCarter & English Matthew Hallisey, left, of Matthew Hallisey Government Affairs and Sami Asaad of McCarter & English

With millions of people relying on home care to help senior loved ones age at home, many families have unwittingly taken on the role of employer by directly hiring a homemaker-companion (or other caregiver), often with the assistance of a home care registry or other referral agency. Although the family might consider the caregiver as just another contractor—like a plumber or electrician—Connecticut and federal laws generally regard the caregiver as the family’s employee. Therefore, the family may be liable for taxes, Social Security, unemployment and workers’ compensation insurance and other financial obligations. Not only are most people not aware of this liability, until Oct. 1, state law did not require registries to inform consumers until four days after placing the caregiver with the consumer.

To protect unsuspecting consumers, Public Act 17-53 changed the law, effective Oct. 1, 2017, to require homemaker-companion registries to give consumers a written notice of legal liability before supplying, referring, or placing an individual homemaker or companion with a consumer. The services cannot commence until the registry receives a signed copy of the notice from the consumer, unless a bona fide emergency exists and the registry details the specific nature of the emergency on a form approved by the Department of Consumer Protection and signed by the consumer or his or her authorized representative. If such an emergency exists, the four-day deadline in current law applies. The act also requires that the notice be featured prominently in boldface type.

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