- The US Department of Labor discovered that Petersen Health Care Inc. owed its staff $3 million in overtime.
- The company operates a chain of residential nursing facilities across the Midwest.
- Nursing homes have lost 15.2% of their total workforce since the start of the pandemic.
A nursing management company owes caregivers $3 million in overtime pay at 84 Midwestern facilities following a federal investigation, the US Department of Labor announced last week.
Petersen Health Care Inc. was found guilty of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act after failing to pay correct overtime to more than 3,000 caregivers at facilities in Illinois, Iowa and Missouri, according to the agency.
Caregivers will receive $2,939,576 in “overtime pay” for the period of June 2018 and June 2020, the DOL announced.
“Although we have agreed to settle this matter, we do not agree with the assertions of the Ministry or the assumptions it made in determining their conclusions. Petersen Health Care pays, and has always paid, its employees in a manner fair and just for all time worked,” Greg Wilson, the company’s senior vice president of operations, said in a statement to Insider, but added that “the current economic environment dictates the settlement of the matter.” .
“We regularly review and evaluate our compensation practices to ensure that our hardworking employees are fairly and equitably compensated for all the time spent caring for our seniors in need,” he continued.
This is not the first time the company has been fined for violating the wage and hour law. The Department of Labor has investigated Petersen Health Care 30 times over the past two decades and determined that the company “has consistently violated wage and hour laws on numerous occasions,” according to a May press release. . Seven of the investigations revealed a total of $88,000 in unpaid wages.
US nursing homes have lost 241,000 workers since the start of the pandemic
Long-term care facilities – which include nursing homes, assisted living facilities, residential care and home care – continue to struggle with significant labor shortages, Bureau data shows. of Labor Statistics. In March, the industry saw its lowest employment levels since 2007.
Nursing homes have lost 15.2% of their total workforce since 2019, the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living reported. Employees in the emotionally and physically difficult industry often face burnout, low wages and poor working conditions, NPR reported in February.
The US Department of Labor said it recovered a total of $22.7 million for healthcare workers in the Midwest between 2019 and 2021. During the big quit, employers across the country faced increased competition for new hires. This brought to the fore discussions about the compensation and treatment of workers, especially in industries that were on the front lines of the pandemic.
“While healthcare employers struggle to retain and recruit workers to provide the services necessary for the success of their business, failure to uphold workers’ rights and failure to pay workers their full wages means that these essential workers will seek employment elsewhere,” Jessica Looman, the Acting Administrator of the Department of Labor’s Division of Wages and Hours, said following the settlement.