DOL Recovers Over $1 Million In Wages From Home Health Agencies Over ‘Numerous’ Violations

Amid much chatter regarding the classification of workers in home-based care, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has clawed more than $1 million in wages from two agencies.

Specifically, the DOL recovered more than $1 million in minimum and overtime wages owed to 859 home health workers employed by two Texas-based providers: Alegre Home Health Care LLC and Pas Home Care LLC.

Those companies “shortchanged employees by violating numerous federal regulations that govern how workers must legally be paid,” according to a press release from the DOL.


Investigators found that the two companies “failed to combine all hours worked for the purpose of calculating employees’ overtime wages,” paying them straight-time rates for hours worked, including overtime. Employees’ established wage rates were also adjusted during weeks where they worked overtime so the companies could avoid paying required overtime, the DOL said.

“Employers who fail to pay minimum wage and required overtime rates make it more difficult for workers to care for their needs and those of their families,” Wage and Hour Division Regional Administrator Betty Campbell said in a statement. “The Department of Labor is determined to protect the rights of the nation’s care workers, people who provide vital services to those in need and who deserve to be paid all of their legal wages and benefits in return for their hard work.”

Of the over $1 million recovered, $900,786 was on behalf of 716 employees from Alegre Home Health Care and $140,620 was on behalf of 143 employees from Pas Home Care.


The DOL also recently issued a final rule that will change the test used to determine whether someone is an employee or independent contractor under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

That rule could have significant ripple effects in home care and home health care.

“Determining joint employment status now hinges on meeting this economic realities test,” Angelo Spinola, the co-chair of the home health and home care industry group at the law firm Polsinelli, recently told Home Health Care News. “Although the DOL has asserted that there are no alterations to the joint employment test, this contradicts the impact on the economic realities test. In terms of industry impact, it significantly affects the franchise model and individual owners — especially in smaller agencies where owners make critical decisions about operations, pay practices, schedules and training. It has a pretty significant effect on home care.”

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