OKEMOS, Mich. — The U.S. Department of Labor reported on February 18 that they recovered $235,742 in overtime payments for healthcare workers at the Dobie Road Ingham County Medical Care Facility in Okemos.
“The federal Wage and Hour Division conducted an investigation under the Fair Labor Standards Act,” said Amador Diaz Jr., the assistant director of the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division. “We found overtime violations totaling $235,000 for 305 employees at Ingham County Medical Center.”
The Dobie Road Ingham County Medical Care Facility said in a statement to FOX 47 that they cooperated with the U.S. Department of Labor “upon the discovery that the former union contract negotiated a few years ago didn’t correspond with correct wage and hour determinants of overtime.”
They further stated that they issued the payments to all employees affected back in November and that they are now working with a labor attorney in all union negotiations. “We are happy we were able to make things right for our employees as they provide such excellent care for our residents,” stated Leslie Shanlian, the CEO of the Dobie Road Ingham County Medical Care Facility.
“The violations were not found to be willful, or, you know, egregious in nature. We did find that the employer was paying overtime, after 12 hours in a day,” Diaz said.
According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, healthcare employers in Michigan are supposed to pay overtime after eight hours in a day or after 80 hours in a biweekly pay period, whichever is greater.
Still, the $235,000 discrepancy is just one of many similar investigations the labor department has conducted in the last couple of years. According to Diaz, the Wage and Hour Division recovered $3.5 million for Michigan healthcare workers between 2019 and 2021.
“When the pandemic hit two years ago, it was a stage of the healthcare industry evolving into just in time inventory, just in time staffing, just in time, PPE,” said Sal Rosselli, the president of the National Union of Healthcare Workers. “It became normal for folks to have to work 24-hour shifts and the pandemic has shed additional light on the fact that our health care industry today, both hospitals and long-term care facilities, are focused on the bottom line and profits as opposed to providing adequate care.”
The U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division is working to resolve the $3.5 million that has been recovered, and ensure it gets paid to the healthcare workers across the state who have earned it. Click here to find out more about Michigan’s labor laws and regulations.
If you would like to file a complaint, click here. Complaints are not only confidential, but employees are also protected by law and cannot be harmed for speaking up for their rights.
The U.S. Department of Labor is holding a caregiver summit for employers on March 23 to educate about the laws the Wage and Hour Division is enforcing.
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