Home health agencies ordered to pay workers $ 18.8 million

NEW YORK, NY – New York City and state officials announced Tuesday that two home care companies will pay up to $ 18.8 million in restitution to 12,000 of its employees. A joint investigation by the New York State Attorney General and the New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection found that Intergen Health, LLC and Amazing Home Care Services, LLC – two care agencies jointly owned home that together form one of the largest in the state – violated many provisions of the city’s paid and sick leave law, according to a city ​​press release.

The investigation, which is DCWP’s largest paid safety and sick leave investigation to date, found that agencies, among other state and city violations:

  • Do not pay employees on leave
  • Disciplined and / or terminated employees who used unscheduled leave
  • Obligation for employees to submit documents justifying the use of the leave, even if the leave was less than three days
  • Violated New York labor law by refusing to pay overtime for workers who worked more than 40 hours per week
  • Incorrectly calculated overtime rates
  • Refuses to pay workers for time spent traveling between patients’ homes

Under the settlement, Intergen and Amazing are required to pay up to $ 18.8 million in compensation in two phases, according to the press release. In the first phase, companies will pay $ 2,032,400 to compensate the 6,500 employees affected by violations of the Paid Leave and Sick Leave Act, and the four employees illegally terminated for using sick leave. paid. They will also pay $ 5,200,000 to compensate approximately 12,000 for violations of the New York labor law.

In phase two, which the city says is currently being negotiated in coordination with a private lawsuit, resident workers will receive a maximum payment of $ 11,540,000.

Businesses will also be required to implement new policies consistent with city and state regulations to correct their past violations; stop requiring employees to present documents justifying their sick leave; train employees on new policies; post and distribute the notice of employee rights and obtain a written and dated acknowledgment of receipt from each employee; appoint a compliance officer; and create a new employee manual with updated policies to submit to the Attorney General and DCWP. The new manual should also be translated and distributed to all employees.

“In New York City, we are fighting to protect all workers, including those who work in people’s homes,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Home health workers take care of our families and not only deserve paid sick and safety leave, it is their right. To any business in New York City that thinks it can get away with denying workers’ rights and breaking our laws: accountable. “

“Home health aides are on the front line serving the most vulnerable in our communities, but these agencies have denied them the most basic form of dignity and respect: fair pay for a hard day’s work,” said Attorney General Laetitia James. “These New York workers not only deserve the wages they have been unfairly denied, but also the assurance that it will not happen again – and that is exactly what this deal will do. I will continue my commitment to protect families and workers, rights and their portfolios. Let this be a warning to all employers: abusive and illegal labor practices will not be tolerated in New York. “

“Home health aides provide vital support to our vulnerable loved ones,” said DCWP Commissioner Peter A. Hatch. “Unfortunately, these invaluable workers often face exploitative working conditions that violate important labor protections. We are committed to ensuring that home care assistants are treated fairly and will hold any home care agency accountable. that denies workers their rights or punishes them for exercising their rights. We urge any worker who feels they have been treated unfairly to contact us so that we can help protect their rights. I want to thank Attorney General James and his office for their partnership in this important investigation. ”

Employees can visit nyc.gov/workers or call 311 (212-NEW-YORK out of town) for many resources to learn more about their rights at work.