Medical person puts $100 bill in his pocket

With a new educational campaign, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division is looking to caregivers to keep home care employers honest.

The DOL on Tuesday disclosed that it has launched an ongoing education, outreach and enforcement initiative on behalf of caregivers to ensure their employers pay them their rightful wages and afford them all legal protections.

The initiative focuses resources on educating essential care workers and their communities about their rights to minimum wage and overtime pay and how to file complaints if they believe their rights have been violated. The initiative will also target misclassification of workers as independent contractors, an illegal practice.

Beyond the educational component, the initiative has a strong enforcement component to encourage employer compliance and reduce violations by industry employers.

Under the Biden administration, the DOL is ratcheting up enforcement of the Fair Labor Standards Act for home care, according to attorney Angelo Spinola. In fiscal year 2021, DOL said the division recovered more than $38.7 million in back wages for healthcare industry workers, and identified misclassification of workers as independent contractors as an increasingly common violation cited by investigators.

The recent DOL effort also will focus on developing and strengthening partner-ships with state and local agencies, and other stakeholders, to ensure employers fully understand their legal responsibilities, and that workers know their rights.