A U.S. Division of Labor initiative is specializing in upholding the rights {of professional} caregivers. (Glenn Stubbe/Star Tribune/TNS)

A yr in the past, the U.S. Division of Labor stated it was stepping up efforts to make sure that folks paid to care for people with disabilities weren’t being taken benefit of. What the company discovered was problematic.

Federal officers stated they’ve carried out over 1,600 investigations since saying the crackdown final fall specializing in residential care, nursing services, dwelling well being companies and different employers within the caregiving business. They discovered violations in 80% of circumstances.

A lot of the points centered on conditions the place employers did not pay extra time or the federal minimal wage in addition to situations the place workers have been misclassified as unbiased contractors, the Labor Division stated.

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Up to now, officers indicated that they’ve recovered $28.6 million in again wages and damages for nearly 25,000 staff. As well as, they’ve assessed employers almost $1.3 million in penalties.

The violations inordinately affected ladies of colour who make up a lot of the nation’s caregiving workforce, the Labor Division stated.

“Within the U.S., ladies make up greater than 80% of the folks employed as nursing assistants, dwelling and private care staff and a disproportionate quantity are ladies of colour, notably Black ladies. These devoted professionals work lengthy hours to supply compassionate care to folks in want,” stated Jessica Looman, principal deputy administrator on the Labor Division’s Wage and Hour Division. “But too many discover themselves working for employers who deprive them of their full wages and advantages they’ve earned for his or her onerous work. We’re decided to verify these staff’ rights are revered and guarded.”

Along with elevated enforcement, the Labor Division initiative to guard the wages and rights {of professional} caregivers additionally consists of enhanced efforts to coach staff in regards to the guidelines and find out how to file a grievance if they don’t seem to be being paid appropriately.

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