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New York City officials' crackdown on home health care agencies

The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) is following the recent practices of the United States Department of Labor. The federal government recently identified a prevalence of labor law violations within the home health care agency industry. As such, the DCA put together a group to investigate for local offenders.

What did the DCA find? The agency recently announced the results from the major enforcement initiative focused on home health care agencies. The effort resulted in 42 investigations throughout the five boroughs. Based on these investigations, the DCA reported "widespread noncompliance" of home health care agencies with labor laws and regulations.

The major source of compliance issues: The Paid Safe and Sick Leave law. Lawmakers enacted this law four years ago to provide workers with protection to take time off when ill. The government has accused a number of home health care agencies of unlawfully denying sick leave request and retaliating against workers who used sick leave.

What happened when the DCA found home health care agencies in noncompliance with these laws? The DCA issued tens of thousands of dollars in restitution payments and fines. The DCA has settled with about half of the health care agencies under investigation. At this time, these settlements have resulted in $42,731 in restitution payments and over $23,448 in fines.

What can home health care agencies in NY learn from this crackdown? Investigations are not slowing down. The government will continue to investigate allegations of a failure to comply with federal, state and local laws regarding wage, hour and leave regulations.

These laws often change, making compliance difficult. Those who are the subject of an enforcement action by the state can benefit from representation by legal counsel. An attorney experienced in the health care laws of New York can build a defense to the allegations and better ensure your business interests are protected.

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