The Potluck

State labor regulators recover unpaid wages for 137 personal care assistants

By: - April 26, 2023 2:49 pm

The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry office in St. Paul. Photo by Max Nesterak/Minnesota Reformer.

The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry announced on Wednesday it had recovered $79,000 in unpaid wages from five personal care assistance agencies, which had failed to correctly pay 137 workers.

DLI’s Labor Standards unit found the personal care assistance agencies did not correctly pay workers all they were owed. The pay violations include making illegal deductions from employees’ wages; not paying overtime wages; and not paying the temporary pandemic-era wage bump allocated by the state Legislature in 2020.

“Personal care assistants have physically and mentally demanding jobs and provide vital services to their fellow Minnesotans. They deserve to be paid all the wages they have earned,” DLI Commissioner Nicole Blissenbach said in a statement.

As result of the investigation, the following personal care assistance agencies had to pay back wages to their employees:

  • A-1 Reliable Home Care Inc. had to pay $48,605 in back wages for 42 employees
  • Bella Mente Inc. had to pay $13,935 in back wages to 53 employees
  • Trust Home Care LLC had to pay $9,224 in back wages to 28 employees.
  • Comfort at Home LLC had to pay $5,655 in back wages to 10 workers.
  • AbbeyCare Choice, Inc. had to pay $2,003 in back wages to four workers.

Last year, the union representing many personal care attendants, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota and Iowa, reached a $1.4 million agreement with state officials for unpaid pandemic-era pay increases for nearly 2,000 home care workers. That deal still must be approved by the Legislature.

In October 2020, state lawmakers approved an 8.4% temporary increase in payments to home care agencies as part of a $1.9 billion spending package. The agencies were supposed to pass much of that extra funding on to personal care assistants as $300-$400 bonuses for caring for the state’s elderly and disabled during the pandemic.

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Max Nesterak
Max Nesterak

Max Nesterak is the deputy editor of the Reformer and reports on labor and housing. Previously, he was an associate producer for Minnesota Public Radio after a stint at NPR. He also co-founded the Behavioral Scientist and was a Fulbright Scholar to Berlin, Germany.