Friday, 14 August 2009 00:00
Finds Some Employees Not Paid Living Wage, Given Required Days Off
An audit by Nassau County Comptroller Howard Weitzman’s office of A&B Health Care Services of Hicksville for the year 2007 revealed that many employees were not given the proper number of paid days off per year and were not paid the proper amount per hour under the Nassau County Living Wage Law.
According to Weitzman, Nassau County’s Living Wage law was enacted in 2007 and is aimed at ensuring that employees of Nassau County contractors earn a decent hourly wage, receive health or child care benefits or a benefits supplement, and paid days off. In addition to auditing A&B Health Care Services, the Comptroller’s Living Wage Unit is currently conducting a review of almost all the 35 home health care agencies that contract with the county.
“Auditors found that A&B Health Care Services was in violation of the Living Wage Law and did not inform their employees of their rights under the law,” said Weitzman.
According to the audit, the agency shortchanged its employees compensated days off a total of 2,358 hours or a dollar equivalent of $25,946 and also paid some employees at a rate lower than the mandated wage rate for the compensated days off. The audit also examined compliance with the Living Wage Law for rates of pay and found that most employees in our test samples were paid less than the living wage rate. Underpayments ranged from $0.27 per hour to $2.00 per hour. A&B agreed to pay what was owed to the employees who had been underpaid and inform all of its employees of the Living Wage Law.
In 2007 the Living Wage Law set hourly wages from $9.50 in 2007, gradually increasing to $12.50 in 2010. Effective Aug. 1, 2009, the wage will be set at $11.50 with health benefits or $13.10 without benefits. At the time the audit was conducted, the Living Wage was $9.50 per hour and the benefits supplement rate was $1.50 per hour. In addition, the law provides for up to 12 days of paid time off to be provided to eligible employees.
“The County’s Living Wage Law is meant to provide employees of companies that contract with the County the ability earn a decent wage,” said Weitzman. “We started our Living Wage audits with personal home health care aide contracts because the aides are paid low wages, yet deliver a vital service.”
A&B Health Care Services representatives said they will still be reviewing their analysis to determine the exact amount owed and will modify their policies and pay employees any wages to which they are entitled. Auditors will conduct a follow-up audit to ensure that A&B’s employees receive their back pay.
For more information about the county’s Living Wage Law, visit www.nassaucountyny.gov/comptroller and click “Living Wage.”