Our firm has represented workers in overtime cases in all sorts of industries, from meatpacking and nursing homes to call centers and correctional facilities. However, one industry stands out for the amount of misinformation and confusion about overtime rights: the home health industry. While the overtime laws are complex, here is a short breakdown of common issues we repeatedly encounter.
Oftentimes, nurses and therapists are paid fees for each visit they perform. Nurses and therapists are often told that drive time, charting and other tasks are part of the visit rate, and there is no additional pay for this work.
In other instances though, employers must still pay overtime even though they are using the fee per visit compensation method. For example, if a nurse or therapist is paid on a fee per visit basis and receives some hourly compensation for other tasks (such as office work and attending meetings), then the exemption from the overtime regulations may be destroyed. A federal appellate court made such a finding as far back as 2002. Elwell v. University Hospitals Home Care Services, 276 F.3d 832 (6th Cir. 2002).
Often, we talk to LPNs and other workers who are paid a fee per visit or on some other basis. These workers don’t get overtime even though the time they spend driving to perform visits and working on charts at home means they are working well in excess of 40 hours per week. This is illegal. The Department of Labor and numerous courts have held that LPNs are not exempt from the overtime laws. We have filed numerous cases on behalf of LPNs, physical therapy assistants and other workers who aren’t getting any or all of their overtime pay.
It’s simple: if you are an LPN, physical therapist assistant, or have a job that requires similar licensing, then you are entitled to overtime pay for all time worked over 40 hours per week. Your employers cannot simply forbid you from reporting the time you spend at home charting or turn a blind eye to all of the work you perform and claim it’s covered by the visit rate.
To learn more about our Wage & Overtime practice group, click here.
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