WHD - Wage and Hour Division

11/16/2022 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/16/2022 13:12

US Department of Labor recovers $1.2M in back wages for 599 home healthcare workers employed by four agencies in Texas, Louisiana

DALLAS - Home healthcare industry employers seek workers willing to work hard and long hours to meet the daily living and care needs of clients - some with limited mobility - in the comfort of their homes. Too often, the U.S. Department of Labor finds employers like four Texas and Louisiana providers who fail to hold up their part of the bargain by not paying nearly 600 employees all the wages they've earned.

A home care industry enforcement effort by the department's Wage and Hour Division found the employers' pay practices violated the Fair Labor Standards Act.Violations included the following:

  • Ace Primary Homecare, Inc., in Pharr, Texas, adjusted the employees' rate of pay to make it appear they paid the overtime premium for hours over 40 in a workweek when, in fact, the employer paid straight time for the overtime hours worked. The division calculated that 400 employees were owed $841,244 in overtime back wages.
  • Guardian Angels Care Services, Inc., in Alexandria, Louisiana, misclassified workers as independent contractors and paid straight-time wages for all hours worked. The division calculated the employer owed 129 affected workers a total of $160,477 in overtime back wages.
  • Fernandez Care Assistance LLC in San Juan, Texas, did not pay the additional overtime premium to 47 hourly employees for hours over 40 in a workweek, and owed them $122,944 in overtime back wages.
  • Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans in Laredo, Texas, paid employees for up to 40 hours a week and rarely paid overtime for hours over 40. Investigators found that, if employees stayed on the clock beyond 40 hours, the employer would adjust its records to indicate no more than 40 hours of work. In addition, employees would clock out and resume working because they were expected to complete the assigned work and knew their time would be adjusted because their employer would not approve overtime. The division determined the Laredo company owed 23 employees a total of $82,497 in overtime back wages.

In all, the division's investigations recovered $1,207,162 in back wages for the affected workers.

"The majority of the home healthcare industry's workers are women of color and despite the critical work they do - and the tremendous compassion and commitment they show - their hourly wage rates remain among the lowest in the nation," explained Southwest Regional Wage and Hour Administrator Betty Campbell. "While our nation honors their service during National Home Health Care Month in November, the U.S. Department of Labor is determined to make sure employers respect their rights as workers, including the right to be paid proper and full wages as dictated by federal law."

In related news, the department today announced an ongoing Wage and Hour Division initiative focused on improving compliance by residential care, nursing facilities, home health services and other care-focused industry employers nationwide has made significant progress.

Read about how the department is honoring healthcare workers and protecting their rights.

In fiscal year 2021, the division identified nearly $14 million in back wages owed to more than 17,000 healthcare workers. In its investigations, the division commonly finds violations related to employers failing to pay overtime when required, misclassifying workers as independent contractors and not paying them for time spent on work-related travel, or pre- and post-shift work.

In September 2022, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 664,000 healthcare and social services workers left their positions and the field had more than 2 million openings.As the aging U.S. population grows and demand for home healthcare services increases, employment in a variety of healthcare sectors is projected to grow 16 percent from 2020 to 2030- faster than the average for all occupations - adding about 2.6 million new jobs.

Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division. The division protects workers regardless of immigration status and can communicate with workers in more than 200 languages.

Download the agency's new Timesheet App for Android and iOS devices to ensure hours and pay are accurate.

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