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elaws - employment laws assistance for workers and small businesses

- Fair Labor Standards Act Advisor

Retirement Hotels, Apartments or Hotels

Many establishments referred to as retirement hotels, retirement apartments, senior citizens retirement homes and the like provide residences and other services for older persons. In order to determine whether such an establishment may qualify as an institution primarily engaged in the care of the sick, the aged, the mentally ill or developmentally disabled who live on the premises, one of the key questions is whether "care" is provided.

The word "care" is subject to a broad interpretation and encompasses routine custodial services and attention. Institutions, which care for the aged, (as well as other institutions which care for the sick, or for the mentally ill or developmentally disabled) can vary from extremely well serviced establishments to those with a custodial type of servicing. Where an establishment takes full responsibility of any nursing home or hospital care a resident requires, this constitutes "care" of the resident. However, it is not necessary that the establishment must be a nursing home or otherwise medically oriented to be a home for the aged. If, in addition to receiving food, shelter, and laundry, the aged occupants must be closely watched because of their senile condition, even though they receive no medical attention, they may, depending upon all the facts, be receiving "care" for the aged within the requirements of the FLSA.

Some apartment hotels and retirement homes that cater to retirees and other elderly persons who are completely ambulatory and in reasonably good health are not considered institutions primarily engaged in the care of the aged who live on the premises. Even though such an establishment may furnish certain special services, as for example, emergency pull bells in the bathroom connected to a public address system in the office and a registered nurse on duty for an hour each day to aid tenants if they need help taking required medication. These services are usually just part of a deluxe service furnished by the establishment and such establishments would not be covered.

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