PHILADELPHIA – A federal court in Pennsylvania has ordered a Philadelphia home healthcare staffing agency to pay $197,236 in back wages and liquidated damages to 31 employees after federal investigators found that their employer failed to pay proper overtime.
On July 10, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia entered a consent judgment requiring Empire Homecare Agency LLC to pay back wages, damages and penalties resulting from litigation prompted by a U.S. Department of Labor investigation.
The department’s Wage and Hour Division determined the staffing agency failed to pay an overtime premium to employees for hours over 40 in a workweek while living in their clients’ homes. Investigators also learned of eight instances when Empire Homecare did not pay overtime to three employees who did not live with their clients. They also learned the employer failed to combine the hours that an employee spent caring for two clients when calculating overtime. These actions violated the Fair Labor Standards Act.
“Home care workers deliver vital services to people in our communities in need. Their hard work allows many people who need regular care to live in their homes,” said Wage and Hour District Director James Cain in Philadelphia. “Empire Homecare Agency’s failure to comply with federal wage regulations denied more than 30 employees thousands in wages on which they depend to care for themselves and their families.”
The judgment also requires the payment of $15,010 in civil money penalties for the intentional nature of the employers’ violations, and forbids the employer from future FLSA violations.
“Home healthcare staffing employers must ensure they comply with federal wage laws. Third-party employers like Empire Homecare Agency cannot claim an overtime exemption for live-in homecare workers,” said Deputy Regional Solicitor Samantha Thomas. “This enforcement action goes a long way in ensuring that home care employees working for this employer receive all of their hard-earned wages, including overtime pay.”
Empire Homecare Agency LLC is a non-medical home care agency servicing the greater Philadelphia area.
Learn more about minimum wage and overtime requirements for direct care workers.
For more information about the FLSA and other laws the division enforces, contact its toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). 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. Workers can call the Wage and Hour Division confidentially with questions or concerns – regardless of where you are from – and the department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages. Help ensure hours worked and pay are accurate by downloading the department’s Android and iOS Timesheet App for free.