Washington – The U.S. Department of Labor has determined that a terminally ill patient care company in Puerto Rico violated fair labor standards and paid 62 employees $54,673 less.
An investigation by the federal Department of Labor concluded that the Hogar Fe centers were in Manati and Esperanza in Puerto Rico. in Mayaguez, owned by the same owner and operating under the name Hospicio la Fe, as a result of breaking the law.
The investigation was carried out by employees of the Department of Wages and Working Hours of the Federal Ministry of Labor.
The investigation found that both hospices misclassified employees as volunteers and received $3.75 or $5 an hour for expenses such as fuel instead of the $7.25 federal minimum wage. They were also not paid for overtime in addition to the 40-hour work week.
“The pandemic has shown that the services provided by medical personnel are essential for our families, our communities and economies. Workers put themselves at risk when they provide these services.”explained Jose R. Vasquez Fernandez, District Director of Hours and Wages.
“With America’s rapidly aging population and the growing demand for healthcare workers, employers who mistreat workers or deprive them of their rights and benefits under the law will not have enough workers to meet the demand,” Vazquez Fernandez added.
According to his reports, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Payroll and Hours Department has returned nearly $14 million to more than 17,000 healthcare workers.
Hospice La Fe offers home care for patients with terminal illnesses, according to the Federal Department of Labor. They are certified by Medicare.