Since new labor laws have taken effect this year, Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) lawsuits against home health care agencies have popped up faster than Usain Bolt runs the curve in the 200-meter dash.
In May, the United States Department of Labor increased the overtime eligibility amount for salaried workers to $47,476 a year ($913 a week). Starting Dec. 1, if salaried home care employees work more than 40 hours a week, their employers will be required to pay overtime wages of 1.5 times the employee’s regular rate. Hot on the heels of that ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court effectively said home care “companion” workers are due minimum and overtime wages.
How has the industry been impacted by these rulings? In just eight months, nearly 200 FLSA lawsuits have landed in federal court, and more than 600 are wending their way through state courts.
What Can Agencies Do?
Many agencies operate on a pay-per-visit basis. Experts advise shifting to a pay-per-hour model. In an interview with Home Health Care News, Angelo Spinola, a lawyer with employment benefits specialty firm Littler Mendelson, said, “Home care is now the No. 1 target for FLSA and collective action lawsuits. Pay-per-visit is an exceedingly difficult compensation practice to utilize effectively. It’s a practice that is being litigated significantly.”
With overtime being the basis for many FLSA lawsuits, agencies that still use the pay-per-visit model need to button up their recordkeeping when it comes to tracking hours worked.
According to a U.S. Department of Labor Fact Sheet, employers must keep 14 basic records for workers. Among those requirements are:
- Time and day of week when employee's workweek begins
- Hours worked each day
- Total hours worked each workweek
Improving Record Accuracy Helps Compliance
Accurately tracking time is paramount to reducing costs and, more importantly, exposure to potential litigation. Some people see this as a significant challenge. William Dombi, vice president for law at the National Association of Home Care and Hospice (NAHC), said, “We expect that the institution of tracking time is going to be a major task for home care agencies.”[i]
It needn’t be.
This is where a mobile health care delivery management solution becomes invaluable. A mobile solution accurately tracks and records start and end times as well as all travel and meal times.
Having accurate and easily accessible records on hand greatly improves an agency’s ability to demonstrate compliance with FLSA regulations.
Choose a solution that will accurately calculate hours worked with travel time, so your agency will have defensible documentation to show compliance if you find yourself in litigation.
For more insights into how a mobile health care delivery management solution can help improve compliance and recordkeeping accuracy, download our white paper today.
[i] “Labor Rule to Increase Overtime Burden on Home Health Providers,” Home Health Care News, May 18, 2016.