Home care workers play a vital role in the lives of many elderly and disabled patients. While these workers are labeled by a number of different job titles, they all work to provide those in need with the fundamental services to increase their quality of life. But as home care workers serve and protect their patients, they should be mindful to protect their own rights and interests under federal and state labor laws.
Home care workers — and most workers in the United States generally — are provided certain minimum wage and overtime protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA. The FLSA is a federal law that enacted comprehensive protections dealing with employment and labor issues and also standardized the 40-hour workweek.
As home care workers are increasingly required to travel to and from patients, and draft and handle reports and paperwork away from the job site, home care workers should ensure that their rights under the FLSA are being protected. Particularly, if a home care worker handles paperwork or charting that is required or necessary for the job — even away from the job site or patient’s home — they are generally entitled to be compensated by their employer. To add, travel time between job sites or patient homes generally is compensable.
An employer’s failure to provide compensation, including applicable overtime pay, to home care workers for these qualified activities is a serious violation of federal law. Ultimately, the home care worker has the right to sue their employer or to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor asking the Department to investigate the alleged noncompliance. This could result in the employer paying back wages to the home care worker and other fines.
If you believe that your employer has not fulfilled its legal obligations under the Federal Labor Standards Act or that you are not being compensated what you are owed, a qualified attorney can help you receive the money you deserve.
This article is intended for information only and should not be considered legal advice.