Department of Labor initiative finds violations in 80% of care industry investigations; recovers $28.6M for nearly 25K workers, mostly women
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced that an ongoing nationwide effort by its Wage and Hour Division focused on improving compliance by residential care, nursing facilities, home health services and other care-focused industry employers has made significant progress in protecting workers’ rights and protections.
Since its 2021 launch, the initiative has completed more than 1,600 investigations and identified violations in 80 percent of its reviews. These investigations recovered more than $28.6 million in back wages and damages for nearly 25,000 workers, and led to assessments of nearly $1.3 million in civil monetary penalties for employers who willfully violated federal law.
Its reviews of residential care facilities, nursing facilities and home health providers found the most common violations discovered by investigators related to failures to pay overtime or federal minimum wages or the misclassification of employees as independent contractors. The initiative found violations often hurt women of color – particularly in the Black, African American, Hispanic and Asian, including Filipina, communities – who are often employed as home care aides, certified nursing aides and licensed practical nurses.
“In the U.S., women make up more than 80 percent of the people employed as nursing assistants, home and personal care workers and a disproportionate number are women of color, notably Black women. These dedicated professionals work long hours to provide compassionate care to people in need,” said Wage and Hour Division Principal Deputy Administrator Jessica Looman. “Yet too many find themselves working for employers who deprive them of their full wages and benefits they’ve earned for their hard work. We are determined to make sure these workers’ rights are respected and protected.”
In addition to recovering back wages for the affected workers, the division’s effort includes outreach programs to educate workers and employers about their respective rights and responsibilities under federal law, and how to report and avoid violations of federal law. As part of the effort, the division is hosting a webinar on federal protections for care industry workers on Thursday, Nov. 17, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. EST. Attendance is free but registration is necessary.
For more information about care workers’ rights, how to file a complaint, the FLSA and other laws enforced by the division, contact the toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Calls can be answered confidentially in over 200 languages, regardless of immigration status. Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division and its searchable workers owed wages database.
Download the agency’s new Timesheet App for Android and iOS devices to ensure hours and pay are accurate.