PA health agency must pay $1.2m to staff who were denied overtime pay: DOL

  • A home care agency in Pennsylvania failed to pay the correct overtime wages to about 200 employees, the DOL said.
  • Many workers had worked more than 50 hours a week, the DOL said.
  • A court ordered the company and its owner to pay $1.16 million in back wages and damages.

A federal court has ordered a Pennsylvania home care agency to pay $1.16 million in back wages and damages after a Department of Labor investigation found its employees were not properly paid for overtime.

Nursing Care in Home LLC — doing business as Meridius Health in Lancaster, Pennsylvania — failed to pay overtime to some employees in at least 2019 and 2020, the Labor Department said in a lawsuit filed Aug. april.

Workers were supposed to receive one and a half times his regular rate of pay if they worked more than 40 hours in a week, but the company paid some employees their normal hourly wages of between about $12 and $14 for overtime, the DOL said in the lawsuit.

“During this period, many employees worked more than fifty hours per week,” the DOL said.

The decision comes as the healthcare sector slowly recovers from a labor shortage.

The number of people working in the health and social care sector fell by nearly 2 million workers from March to April 2020, but has been steadily increasing since then and is now just 1, 4% below pre-pandemic levels, according to preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But people are still quitting their jobs – the industry has had a 2.4% turnover rate in February 2022, with 487,000 workers leaving their jobs that month, according to BLS data.

Beginning around April 2020, home nursing began paying an overtime premium to some employees but not others, the DOL said.

Some employees’ overtime pay was calculated incorrectly because the company did not factor a hazard pay of $240 every two weeks into their standard pay rate, the DOL said.

The company also failed to create, maintain and maintain adequate and accurate records of employees and their earnings, the DOL said.

In its April 11 judgment, the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ordered Nursing Care in Home and Rustam Suvanidze, the owner of the business, to pay $1.16 million in back wages and damages to nearly 200 current and former workers, including one employee set to receive $43,750. The company and Suvanidze were also ordered to pay $37,921 in civil penalties.

Nursing home attorneys did not immediately provide comment when contacted by Insider.

“Home care workers provide essential services every day, and their work is vital to the well-being of the people they serve,” said Jessica Looman, acting administrator of the DOL’s wage and hour division. , in a press release. statement. “The Wage and Hour Division will not tolerate the exploitation of social workers or attempts to circumvent federal overtime laws.”

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