A Worcester area home health care company has recently agreed to pay $162,000 in restitution to its employees. According to the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office, Pinnacle Home Health care Services Inc. had been issuing paychecks that were not complete.
The company allegedly altered timesheets to pay employees less than the hours they actually worked. When one of Pinnacle’s employees allegedly notified authorities, Attorney General Maura Healey’s office conducted an initial investigation. The investigation detailed various discrepancies between the hours employees reported working and how much they were being paid.
The audit conducted ran from September 2016 through November 2017. There was no immediate word from Pinnacle or any of its administrators or the owner of the company on this settlement agreement. There was also no indication about other penalties or disciplinary actions to be taken against owner Pauline Mwangi.
The Boston Globe reported in its news article, Worcester home healthcare company to pay $162,000 in restitution to more than 230 employees, written by Sofia Saric:
“Pinnacle Home Healthcare Services Inc. and its owner Pauline Mwangi will pay 233 home health care aides for late and missed wages, Healey said in a statement. A Pinnacle employee alleged the company was issuing checks that were missing pay, leading to an investigation, Healey said.
The investigation revealed discrepancies between the hours employees actually worked and what was reported on timesheets. An audit of payroll records from September 2016 to November 2017 revealed a pattern of late and underpaid wages, Healey said.”
It’s difficult enough for home care aides — men and women who often receive relatively low wages due to limitations in Medicaid reimbursement for these services — to press forth and continue doing this type of work, but when the hours they put in are not compensated, it puts an even darker mark on the entire industry.
It was also not noted whether all 233 home health care aides whose pay had been affected were still working for the company or in the industry. Home care agencies that don’t pay their caregivers and other employees for services rendered place the entire industry under greater scrutiny and, among the public, a less positive impression.
Attorney General Healey also noted in a statement:
“Home health aides provide thousands of elderly and disabled residents in Massachusetts with the care they need for daily living. We’re pleased that we were able to help Pinnacle employees get back the wages they earned.”
There was no word on whether Pinnacle was ordered to pay punitive damages in this settlement.
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