Health Care Industry is Targeted for Wage and Hour Enforcement

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) continues to go after employers in a cluster of industries for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). For example, the DOL announced in February 2010 that it would conduct a compliance initiative in the health care industry in the state of New York. In a release announcing the initiative, DOL noted that fewer than 36 percent of health care employers investigated by the division's Albany, NY office during the past five years were in compliance with the FLSA. The announcement came on the heels of a November 2009 announcement by the DOL that it was conducting a compliance initiative in the residential health care industry in Connecticut and Rhode Island. DOL enforcement efforts over the last five years in the health care industry in those states have resulted in back wage payments of more than $2 million to almost 2,000 employees.

Violations of wage and hour regulations have included the following:

Meal period violations. A meal period is non-compensable only if a worker is completely relieved of work duties.

Rounding time worked in the employer's favor.

Failure to record time worked.

Pre-shift and post-shift activities which may be compensable.

Off-the-clock work.

Travel time.

Independent contractor and employee distinctions.

Misclassification of exempt and non-exempt employees.

Now that the DOL has an increased budget for 2010, to include hundreds of additional field investigators, employers can expect even stricter federal enforcement of wage and hour laws.

Training can help educate managers and employees about wage and hour regulations. SESCO Management Consultants is available to assist with wage and hour issues. You may contact us by phone at 423-764-4127 or by email at sesco@sescomgt.com .