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Dept. of Labor investigation recovers $126K for 95 home healthcare workers

(Photo Supplied/Indiana News Service)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Press Release): A U.S. Department of Labor investigation has found an Indiana provider of home healthcare services violated federal law when it failed to pay workers for time spent driving between clients’ homes, leading to the department’s recovery of $126,162 in back wages for 95 workers.

Investigators with the department’s Wage and Hour Division determined that the failure of SHAS Inc. – which operates as Sunshine Home Health Care – to record and pay for travel time resulted in minimum wage, overtime and recordkeeping violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

“All too often, we find healthcare industry employers with systemic violations ­­– like failing to pay for employee’s time traveling between jobs accurately ­– that deprive workers of all their hard-earned wages and benefits,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Patricia Lewis in Indianapolis. “Healthcare workers provide skilled nursing and assistance with essential daily living tasks and enable thousands of Americans to remain in the comfort of their own homes.”

Investigators determined the Fort Wayne employer violated the FLSA by doing the following:

  • Failing to pay workers for travel time between client’s home which led some workers to be paid less than minimum wage per hour worked.
  • Applying overtime rules for salaried employees incorrectly, and denying workers overtime wages due.
  • Not maintaining an accurate record of hours worked.

In April 2022, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the 673,000 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.

“As industry employers struggle to find people to fill the jobs needed to remain competitive, they must take into account that retaining and recruiting workers is more difficult when employers fail to respect workers’ rights and pay them their full wages,” Lewis added.

For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243).

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