Nursing agency to pay $654K in back wages

DOWNEY - A Downey-based home nursing agency has agreed to pay more than $654,000 in back wages to 108 nurses after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor determined that the company violated federal overtime and record-keeping requirements.Extended Health Care Inc. will pay $654,082 in back wages, federal officials said. Investigators found that some employees were paid "straight time" for all hours worked, including hours in excess of 40 per week, instead of time and a half for overtime hours. Several of the longest-tenured employees were only paid time and one-quarter for overtime hours, authorities said. Some workers were paid time and a half but only for hours worked beyond 80 in the biweekly pay period, rather than for hours beyond 40 in one week as required by law, officials said. Authorities also claim the agency misclassified some employees as independent contractors, which resulted in a lack of required wage deductions for taxes and other withholdings. Extended Health Care Inc. also failed to keep accurate records of wages paid to its employees, investigators said. Extended Health Care Inc., which does business as EHC Private Duty Nursing, dispatches nurses to patients' homes for direct skilled nursing care. The company currently employs about 70 workers, authorities said. Following the investigation, the company signed a settlement agreement and agreed to pay back the wages in full. "All employees deserve full and fair compensation for all hours worked," said Priscilla Garcia, director of the federal Wage and Hour Division's district office in West Covina. "This action to restore more than half a million dollars in back wages reflects the department's commitment to protect the overtime rights of these workers."

********** Published: May 17, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 05