RCFE’s have the difficult task of providing 24-hour care to the elderly while complying with inlexible employment laws pertaining to overtime, minimum wage, sleep time deductions, meal and rest breaks and record keeping. Unsurprisingly, nearly every RCFE unintentionally violates California labor law, but a few unlucky RCFE’s are sued for tens of thousands of dollars.
Attorney Michael Benavides defends RCFE’s facing employment law claims for unpaid overtime, minimum wage, sleep time deductions, meal and rest break violations, wage statements and related labor law violations. To receive a free phone consultation with Michael Beanvides call Sacramento Law Group LLP at (916) 596-1018.
Caregiver Employment Law Claims
RCFE’s with live-in caregivers are vulnerable to employment law claims, especially when live-in caregivers work 24 hours or more per shift. Sleep time deductions are often challenged by former caregivers, especially when the personal care needs of residents frequently interrupt the caregiver’s sleep. Moreover, meal and rest break practices are often not in compliance with the care worker exception to avoid daily penalties.
Unpaid Overtime & Minimum Wage
Some employment agreements such as payment of a fixed amount per shift and deductions for lodging and sleep time can unintentionally violate California labor law. Caregivers must be paid at least minimum wage for all hours worked. Unfortunately, the term “hours worked” is broadly interpreted as any time during which the caregiver is subject to the RCFE’s control, and includes all time the caregiver is suffered or permitted to work, whether or not they are required to do so, as interpreted by the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Meal and Rest Breaks
Under Wage Order #5 Employers must provide a 10 minute paid rest break for every 4 hours worked and a 30 minute meal break after no more than 5 hours of work. If the aforementioned meal or rest break is not provided the employer must pay the employee 1 hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate of compensation for each workday that the rest or meal period is not provided.
Fortunately, RCFE’s are provided a care worker exception in Wage Order #5 that allows the Employer to provide a paid meal and rest break without liability for the 1 hour penalty if certain conditions are met. However, RCFE’s bears the burden of proof to show that the care worker exception applies.