home-care-becomes-targetLast week I attended the fall conference of the Virginia Association of Personal Care Providers. I shared my experience of working with caregiver recruitment and retention in home care.

Attorney Betsy Davis  followed and talked about the new FLSA regulations affecting payment of overtime for office staff. As home care scrambles to comply with these new regulations, the number of lawsuits against them has soared since 2014.

Between overtime pay for caregivers, the pressure on hourly wages and the upcoming FLSA changes, home care is under close scrutiny to comply with the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

In less than 50 days, salaried employees will be exempt from overtime pay if they earn more than $913 a week ($47,476 a year). Get your agency “Overtime Ready” with the step-by-step workbook I created with you in mind.

Much of the office staff in home care earn less than the new salary threshold. Think scheduler, recruiter, even your marketing rep. They probably are earning less than $47,500 a year. Unless their salary is increased, they will have to be paid overtime whenever they work over 40 hours a week.

Since 2014, the number of lawsuits alleging wage violations in home care has skyrocketed. Home care is now the number one target for FLSA and employment lawsuits. Many cases focus on compensation concerns over sleeping time, meal time and travel time.

How to Protect Your Agency Against Lawsuits? 

Be proactive!

Change your pay practices. For example, stop paying per visit. It’s the source of many lawsuits.

Focus on hours worked. Pay based on hours worked is always the best option.

A caregiver sometimes gets paid different rates for different cases. Make sure employees know that.

Know that it’s OK to pay travel time at a different rate than hands-on care. Remind caregivers of the difference between commuting and work travel time.

Clarify pay rules with caregivers. Make sure your employee handbook explains these finer points on how to record hours worked.