By: Jennifer Weitz, Esq. and Ty Hyderally, Esq.
New York City recently announced a multimillion-dollar settlement with two home healthcare companies, resolving violations of the NYC Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law and wage and hour requirements under New York Labor Laws. The settlement with Intergen Health, LLC and Amazing Home Care Services, businesses that are under common ownership and are one of the largest home care agencies in New York State, requires the agencies to pay up to $18.8 million in restitution and adopt extensive compliance measures.
An investigation found that the home care agencies committed multiple violations of the Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law, such as failing to pay employees who used leave, disciplining and/or firing employees who used unscheduled leave, requiring employees to document leave of less than three days, and failing to provide a written safe and sick leave policy. Additionally, the two agencies violated the New York Labor Law by refusing to pay overtime to workers who worked more than 40 hours a week, miscalculating overtime rates, and refusing to pay workers for time spent traveling between patient homes, among other violations.
As part of the settlement, Intergen and Amazing must pay over $2 million to compensate 6,500 employees impacted by violations of the Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law and four employees who were fired for using paid sick leave. They also must pay $5,200,000 for violations of the New York Labor Law. As well, in phase two of the settlement, which is being resolved in coordination with a private lawsuit, the agencies will pay up roughly $11 million to live-in aides, subject to court approval.
Beyond these components of the settlement agreement, Intergen and Amazing must: 1) implement new policies so that both entities are in compliance with the Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law and the New York Labor Law; 2) stop requiring employees to submit documentation justifying use of sick leave; 3) train employees on updated policies; 4) post and distribute the Notice of Employee Rights, and obtain written and dated acknowledgement of receipt from each employee; 5) appoint a new compliance office; and 6) create a new employee manual, subject to approval from the New York Attorney General and the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP), that must be translated and given to all employees.
This settlement comes on the heels of two recent settlements that we reported on previously, that found violations of the Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law by Southwest Airlines and American Airlines, respectively. To date, as a result of DCWP’s Paid Safe and Sick Leave investigations, it has entered into settlements with 34 agencies and provided relief to more than 11,000 workers.
The NYC Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law applies to private, nonprofit, and household employers that employ workers in New York City. The law covers employees who work in New York City but live elsewhere, and employers based outside of New York City with employees in New York City. Under the NYC Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law:
Anyone wanting more information about the NYC Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law can call 311 or go to www.nyc.gov/workers.
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