WASHINGTON (November 17, 2022)—The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced that an ongoing nationwide effort by its Wage and Hour Division designed to crack down on mistreatment of direct care employees—including home health services, residential care and nursing facilities—has identified violations in 80 percent of its reviews.
Since its launch in 2021, the initiative has completed more than 1,600 investigations, recovered more than $28.6 million in back wages and damages for nearly 25,000 workers, and led to assessments of nearly $1.3 million in civil monetary penalties for employers.
The most common violations related to failures to pay overtime or federal minimum wages or the misclassification of employees as independent contractors. The initiative found violations often hurt women of color—particularly in the Black, African American, Hispanic and Asian communities—who are often employed as home care aides, certified nursing aides and licensed practical nurses.
“In the U.S., women make up nearly 80% of the people employed in healthcare and social assistance, and most are women of color, notably Black women. These dedicated professionals work long hours to provide compassionate care to people in need,” said Wage and Hour Division Principal Deputy Administrator Jessica Looman. “Yet too many find themselves working for employers who deprive them of their full wages and benefits they’ve earned for their hard work. We are determined to make sure these workers’ rights are respected and protected.”
Recent cases included:
- A consent judgment recovering $9.3 million in back wages and liquidated damages for 1,756 employees of U.S. Medical Staffing Inc., a Pennsylvania health care staffing company, that allegedly misclassified them and denied overtime.
- The DOL recovered $1.2 million in back wages for improperly paid overtime for 599 home health care workers employed by four agencies in Texas and Louisina: Primary Homecare, Inc., Guardian Angels Care Services, Inc., Fernandez Care Assistance, and the Association for the Advancement of Mexicans.
- Urgent Homecare Inc., a Phoenix-based provider of non-medical home care services was ordered to pay 253 employees a total of $521,905 in back wages and damages for allegedly not paying for overtime or travel time.
- The Florida company Angels on Earth PPEC Inc., which offers pediatric extended care services for special needs children, was ordered to pay $303,367 in back wages for 160 workers after allegedly failing to pay overtime or keep records of total weekly work hours.
In addition to recovering back wages for the affected workers, the division’s effort includes outreach programs to educate workers and employers about their respective rights and responsibilities under federal law, and how to report and avoid violations of federal law.
For more information about care workers’ rights, how to file a complaint, the FLSA and other laws enforced by the division, contact the toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division and its searchable workers owed wages database.