Caregivers working in Residential Care Facilities provide an important service to elderly and disabled individuals, as well as their families. Caregivers often work up to 24 hours a day to meet the residents’ needs. However, many caregivers working in facilities are grossly underpaid.
California law protects caregivers working in Residential Care Facilities from wage theft. All facility caregivers are entitled to receive at least minimum wage for every hour worked. The current minimum wage in California is $10.50 per hour for employers with 25 employees or less, and $11.00 for employers of 26 or more employees.
Additionally, with some exceptions, caregivers working in Residential Care Facilities must also receive overtime compensation for all hours worked in excess of eight per day or 40 per week, and double time compensation for all hours worked in excess of 12 per day.
Facility caregivers, working 24-hour shifts must be paid a minimum of $399 a day to comply with California’s minimum wage laws. That includes eight hours of pay at the minimum wage of $10.50/hour ($84), four hours at the overtime rate of $15.75/hour ($63) and 12 hours paid at the double time rate of $21/hour ($252).
Instead of paying overtime and double time, many Residential Care Facility employers pay caregivers a salary, regardless of the actual number of hours worked. Paying a salary does not exempt that employee from minimum wage or overtime. Many times, the salary paid is far less than the legally required minimum wage. More importantly, paying a non-exempt employee a salary only compensates that employee for the non-overtime hours worked. So, if a non-exempt Facility caregiver who works more than eight hours a day or 40 hours a week receives a salary, that caregiver has not been paid anything for hours worked in excess of eight in a day or 40 in a week.
If you are a facility caregiver receiving a salary for working 24-hour live in shifts, you could have a substantial unpaid overtime claim. For example, Tony is a facility caregiver. He works 24 hours a day and is not allowed to leave the care facility at any time during his work days. His employer requires him to sleep in the facility at night and the residents frequently wake him asking for assistance. Tony receives a daily salary of $100 each day he works. This makes Tony’s regular rate of pay $12.50 per hour ($100/8 hours per day). Tony’s overtime rate is therefore $18.75 and his double time rate is $25. Because that salary does not compensate Tony for any overtime hours, Tony’s employer owes him $375.00 per day: 4 overtime hours x $18.75 (Tony’s overtime rate), plus 12 double time hours x $25.00 (Tony’s double time rate). If Tony works 5 days a week, he is owed $1,875 per week, which equals $97,500 each year he works. If Tony brings a claim against his employer for these unpaid wages, he can seek unpaid wages going back four years, along with interest, attorney’s fees, costs of suit, liquidated damages and penalties.
Caregivers work hard to care for our loved ones and should be paid in accordance with California law. If you are a caregiver working in licensed Residential Care Facility and are not being paid according to California law, we would like to help. Please contact our firm at (818)807-4168 for a free and confidential consultation. We love helping caregivers get the overtime they deserve.
This article is an attorney advertisement written by Lauren J. Peterson, employment law attorney at Chaleff Rehwald in Woodland Hills. Our examples are of a general nature and are not a guarantee regarding the outcome of your individual matter. The law firm focuses on caregiver rights. Please call us at (818) 807-4168 for a free and confidential consultation. Or visit us at www.cr.legal to learn more about caregiver overtime law. We offer a 24-hour chat line on our website.