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Home Care Workers Expecting California Overtime Pay

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Sacramento, CAAbout 400,000 home care workers in California can finally bank on California overtime pay starting February 1, 2016, which is a four-month delay. But collecting overtime pay may not be so easy and could spur a rash of overtime lawsuits.

For instance, Pam (not her real name) works for HomeHero, a home health care service. At her live-in job she has cared for the same gentleman for more than two years. Pam is paid minimum wage but recently found out that she is entitled to California overtime pay. Pam e-mailed LawyersandSettlements a copy of a letter that HomeHero sent their clients, addressing the 2015 minimum wage laws. (Pam said $19 is not a typo, as the minimum wage is $9, increasing to $10 effective January 1, 2016.)

Here is a segment of the letter:
“HomeHero has always prided ourself(sic) on offering the best rates to clients, and we were happy to pay our Heroes higher rates than what they would receive from older, less technology-driven agencies - and this hasn’t changed. However, due to this new law, the hourly rate for Los Angeles is now starting at $19 and the daily rate is starting at $400 for any shift lasting 22 hours or more. Effective immediately, all clients will be billed at these rates.”

According to techcrunch.com, HomeHero claims to have helped deliver a million hours of home care since January of 2014, have doubled the number of shifts that it helps facilitate since March of this year, and racked up 25 percent monthly growth so far in 2015. Easy to do, given the discrepancy between employee rates and client charges. Will HomeHero cough up overtime pay as of February 2016?

Susan’s brother had a stroke 12 years ago that left him completely disabled and he has severe dementia. Susan, age 71, is his only caregiver. “I’ve been going in circles with the state of California trying to get financial help, and I went to court four times before we qualified for the ‘protective supervision’ program,” Susan explains.

Before qualifying for support, the home support program only helped Susan with a housekeeper for a few hours per day. After struggling for many years, she finally gets a check from IHSS for $9.85 per hour, for a total of 254 hours per month. (Susan cares for her brother 24/7.) But the state has been deducting seven percent off her payments - she is paid for 198 hours - saying the program is broke. Susan believes that home care givers should not be penalized that seven percent.

“I am a member of the United Domestic Workers Union and they are very angry at this seven percent issue,” says Susan. “And we were supposed to get overtime as of January but we haven’t received a cent, nor have we received any communication from the state of California,” Susan adds. “I believe the state owes me $20,000 in overtime pay.” Stay tuned...

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