Daniel Chaleff Addresses Caregivers in Balita Magazine

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Balita Magazine January 2023


By Daniel Chaleff

If you are employed as a 24-hour live-in caregiver, working around-the-clock to provide care and assistance to an individual inside their home, you are most likely entitled to overtime compensation. If you are paid a fixed daily rate, regardless of the actual hours you work or the quality and quantity of work you perform, you are not receiving overtime compensation and likely have a valuable claim for wage theft This is true whether you are hired directly by the care recipient or paid though a home care agency.

In 2014 the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights (“DWBR”) became law in California. The law as passed as part of a movement to enhance the rights of domestic workers, whom the California Legislature deemed to be some of the most invisible and vulnerable workers in the state. Now, under the DWBR, in-home caregivers are entitled to receive overtime wages for all hours worked in excess of 9 in a day or 45 in a week.

Starting in 2023, most 24-hour live-in caregivers working in California must be paid a minimum of $488.25 per day to comply with the requirements of the DWBR. The first 9-hours of work should be paid at the legal minimum wage rate of $15.50 per hour, which equals $139.50. Then, for the remaining 15 hours, the law requires overtime payments at a rate of $23.25 per hour, which amounts to an additional $348.75 per day.

Unfortunately, in actual practice, most caregivers receive far less than the applicable minimum wage, often earning as little as $240 to $300 per day. A 24-hour caregiver who is earning less than $488.25 per day likely has a very valuable claim for wage theft.

For example, if you are a caregiver working 24-hours per day, 5 days per week for a salary of $1,350 per week (or $270 per day), your weekly unpaid overtime claim is calculated as follows: Your weekly salary of $1,350 is divided by 45 hours to calculate a regular rate of pay, equal to $30.00 per hour. Your overtime rate is 1.5 times your regular rate of pay, which amounts to $45.00 per hour.

Your pre-determined salary does not compensate you, at all, for the 15 daily overtime hours you work. So, each day, you accrue $675.00 of unpaid overtime wages. Employers who willfully fail to pay an employee the requisite overtime compensation, are also subject to liquidated damages, which could add an additional $232.50 per day to the wage theft claim. Plus, the law provides for interest, attorneys fees, and penalties.

In the above example, the hypothetical caregiver is owed $3,375 in unpaid overtime wages per week. On a yearly basis, the overtime claim alone exceeds $175,000. We have helped many caregivers whose claims exceed $500,000 in damages with the addition of penalties, liquidated damages and interest, after working for several years.

Caregivers, who are victims of wage theft, may recover their unpaid wages going back 4 years from the date a lawsuit is filed in court. We have helped many caregivers file claims against their former employers. Even if you last worked several years ago, you still have time to pursue a claim. The one exception is if the care recipient patient has passed away. In that instance, a claim against the care recipient’s estate must be filed within 1 year of their passing, or sooner if an estate has been opened.

If you are a caregiver working 24-hour shifts without overtime compensation, we want to talk with you about your legal rights. We provide compassionate and confidential consultations. Please contact us at (818) 807-4168, for a free case evaluation.