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Home Health Aides Awarded $1.1 Million in Overtime Pay

July 11, 2012

A New York City–based home care agency that violated state labor laws owes as many as 1,500 home care workers a total of more than $1 million in back pay, a New York State Supreme Court judge ruled.

The company, McMillan Home Care Agency, failed to pay its home health aides overtime pay at the time-and-a-half rate mandated by state law, Judge Paul Wooten said.

Josefina Toledo Montero, a home health aide from New York City, was the lead plaintiff of the class action suit against McMillan. The lawsuit is believed to be the first one in which home care workers have ever been certified as a class in New York State, WNYC reported.

Catherine Ruckelshaus, the legal co-director of the National Employment Law Project, helped to represent the home health aides.

Home health aides who worked overtime at McMillan between April 2004 and December 2011 could be eligible for a portion of the $1.1 million settlement, depending on how many overtime hours they worked.

Under federal law, home care workers are defined as “companions” to the elderly, and are therefore not entitled to time-and-a-half overtime pay. New York, however, is one of 15 states that have passed laws requiring overtime pay for home care workers.

Venecia Gomez, a Bronx home health aide who worked at McMillan for five years, told Crain’s New York that the company “never paid me overtime like they should have, even though they knew that I had children to take care of.

“When I think about all those hours of work, I feel a lot better knowing that McMillan’s is going to pay overtime now,” she added.

– by Matthew Ozga

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