Healthcare, social assistance industries No. 2 in wage and hour prosecutions

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Healthcare and social assistance-related wage and hour prosecutions in various states. (Detail of TSheets graphic)
Healthcare and social assistance-related wage and hour prosecutions in various states. (Detail of TSheets graphic)

Businesses in the healthcare and social assistance industries are the second most likely to be prosecuted by the Department of Labor for wage and hour violations, according to data from 1985 and later from employee time-tracking and scheduling software company TSheets.

More than 10 healthcare and social assistance operators have been hit every week for the past three decades, and the average cost to each business is more than $10,000 in back wages and fines, according to the company. Cases could increase given the overtime rule set to go into effect on Dec. 1. That rule will double the salary threshold — from $23,660 to $47,476 per year — under which most salaried workers must be paid overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours per week.

Since 1985, almost 17,000 wage and hour cases have been prosecuted involving healthcare and social assistance workers, according to TSheets. Only businesses in the accommodation and food services industries have had more prosecutions, at 29,402, the company said.

Among the types of businesses included in the healthcare and social assistance category are nursing and residential care facilities, ambulatory healthcare services, hospitals and social assistance. Specifically under this umbrella, residential care communities are the fourth worst hit, according to TSheets.

Among residential care communities, 1,002 wage and hour prosecutions have occurred since 1985. California had the most cases, 213, of all states, said TSheets. Each case cost a business an average of $11,257. Back wages paid to employees have totaled $11,071,249, and civil money penalties have totaled $208,702. Overall costs, excluding legal fees, have totaled $11,279,951.

So-called homes for the elderly are the seventh worst hit under the healthcare and social assistance umbrella, according to TSheets. Among such homes, 719 wage and hour prosecutions have occurred, again, with California having the most, 296. The average cost to each business, per prosecution, was $12,046. Back wages paid to employees have totaled $8,483,821, and civil money penalties topped $177,017. Overall total costs to the sector, excluding legal fees, were $8,660,838, TSheets said.

“These data only show public prosecutions by the Department of Labor, and, by its own admission, the DOL typically only goes after the most egregious cases, which probably explains the high success rate” of 75% of investigations turning into prosecutions, said TSheets analyst Simon Worsfold. Some employees may pursue additional cases through the courts, he added.

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