Senior living company to pay $518,060 in back wages, damages to 39 caregivers

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A senior living company in Washington state will pay $259,030 in back wages plus an equal, additional amount in damages, to 39 caregivers for violating minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division announced Wednesday.

Three locations of the Good Shepherd Home Inc. in Shoreline, WA, paid employees flat daily rates without regard to the number of hours that they actually worked, according to the Labor Department. That practice resulted in minimum wage violations when those amounts fell short of $7.25 per hour, and it caused overtime violations when employees worked more than 40 hours in a week yet received no additional pay.

Workers typically worked 12- to 24-hour shifts, the department said. Investigators also found that Good Shepherd did not keep accurate records of the hours worked by employees, which is a violation of the FLSA's recordkeeping provisions.

“Employers must pay their employees for all of the time they put in on the job,” said Jeanette Aranda, district director for the Wage and Hour Division in Seattle. “Paying a day rate or a salary does not mean these facilities can ignore their legal obligation to pay minimum wage and overtime.”

When contacted by McKnight's Senior Living, Good Shepherd owner/provider Luz Hoff, RN, BSN, MHP, said she had no comment.

Washington categorizes the Good Shepherd properties as adult family homes, residential homes licensed to care for up to six residents who are not related. They provide room, board, laundry, supervision and help with activities of daily living, personal care and social services, according to the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services.

The Wage and Hour Division has posted information about wages and residential care facilities in a fact sheet on its website.

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