WINCHESTER, IN – A Winchester non-profit provider of social services shortchanged caregivers by failing to pay them the federal minimum wage, as the law requires for all government contractors, a U.S. Department of Labor investigation has found.

The investigation led the department’s Wage and Hour Division to recover $87,213 in back wages for 19 caregivers – employed by The Journey Home to serve homeless and at-risk veterans. The facility has a contract with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

“Employers holding federal contracts must abide by the terms of their contract to pay federally required wage rates and benefits,” said Wage and Hour District Director Patricia Lewis in Indianapolis. “Workers should be paid all of their hard-earned wages. Our nation’s veterans depend upon the essential services provided, and the caregivers who provided those services must be properly compensated.”

Investigators determined that while The Journey Home paid workers above the prevailing wage, the hourly rate was still lower than the required minimum wage set by Executive Order 13658 for workers on a federal contract. The miscalculation of the wage rate also led to a violation of the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act, because the employer failed to calculate the correct hourly overtime rate for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. The Journey Home also violated the McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act by failing to compensate some employees correctly for holidays and vacations.

The Journey Home assists homeless and at-risk veterans with mental and physical health issues, helps maintain or obtain permanent housing, and aids in the improvement of employment opportunities and engagement with federal, state and local veterans resources and benefits.

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. For more information about laws enforced by the division, contact the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Workers can call the Wage and Hour Division confidentially with questions – regardless of their immigration status – and the department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages.

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