The State of New York has now opened up an investigation into whether or not some non-unionized home care agencies are violating state law with regard to wages and benefits. Allegations were levied by the SEIU (Service Employees International Union).
According to Modern Healthcare’s article, New York probes home-care agencies over suspected labor violations, written by Caroline Lewis:
“The probe is fueled, at least in part, by information gathered by 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. The union, which represents home health aides in about 50 agencies, has expressed concerns that some nonunion employers are gaining an edge by not offering the full amount of wages and benefits required by law.
The state Office of the Medicaid Inspector General and the state Department of Labor began auditing agencies in June as part of an investigation into their compliance with the Home Care Wage Parity Law, OMIG told Crain’s. The statute, which took effect in 2012, requires employers to offer workers a minimum amount of supplementary compensation in the form of benefits or additional wages on top of their base pay.”
The union apparently began their own independent undercover investigation by having people posing as prospective employees applying for work as home care agencies suspected of not being in full compliance with the Wage Parity Law, which took effect in 2012, which requires employers to offer minimum wage and appropriate benefits to its employees. These union representatives would then report their findings and the union then provided these findings to Crain’s New York Business. It’s unclear why these were submitted to a news organization first, instead of directly to the OMIG (Office of Medicaid Inspector General), though the reports were ultimately then provided to this oversight committee.
A union representative claims that the home care industry in New York is like the ‘Wild West’ with little oversight, though laws make it clear what a business must do to be in compliance. However, according to the union, paying minimum wage is not something that can be skirted, but limiting benefits can, including vacation days, sick days, and so forth.
There was no note in the Modern Healthcare article about whether some of these agencies allegedly violating the mandates are small, rely exclusively on Medicaid reimbursements, and whether there could be other circumstantial reasons the union may suspect noncompliance. It’s also unclear is the SEIU was conducting this undercover operation on the authority of the State of New York itself nor what their ultimate focus was on.
There have yet to be any official, formal rulings on any of the suspected companies listed and reported by the SEIU.
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