Monday, January 30, 2023

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Massachusetts could restrict police use of facial recognition technology, Wyoming mulls more health coverage for workers, and a report finds low salary contributes to social workers leaving the field.

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Civil rights activists push for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act following the killing of Tyre Nichols, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy says he can reach a deal with President Biden on the debt ceiling, and election experts say 2023 could shape voting rights across the country.

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"Brain Gain?" Research shows rural population is actually growing, especially in recreational areas; other small towns are having success offering relocation incentives like free building lots, cash, complimentary dinners and even internet credits; and researchers say the key is flexibility and creativity.

DOL Recovers Over $1 Million in Back Wages for TX, LA Healthcare Workers

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Monday, November 28, 2022   

Women of color working in health care are the most likely to lose out on wages they have earned because employers fail to pay what they owe, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Investigations have found 80% of violations affect home-care aides, nursing aides and licensed practical nurses, especially women working in Black, Hispanic and Asian communities.

Joseph Callihan, wage and hour investigator for the U.S. Department of Labor, said the most common violations are a failure to pay overtime or federal minimum wages, or misclassifying employees as independent contractors.

"These cases can be either complaint-driven cases or they can be target-driven," Callihan explained. "Where we know this industry is problematic, and we will go ahead and do a directed investigation."

Earlier this month, the Labor Department recovered $1.2 million in back wages for 599 home health care workers at three employers in Texas and one in Louisiana. In Texas, the department found the employers' pay practices violated the Fair Labor Standards Act and calculated 400 employees were owed $841,000 in overtime back wages.

The three Texas employers found to have violated laws were located in Laredo, Pharr and San Juan. Callihan noted an employer's failure to pay is not always intentional, and can be because they do not know the rules, even though the Labor Department provides "fact sheets."

"There's generally overtime violations in the industry, where they could be paying straight time for overtime, or they could be backing into the overtime rates," Callihan added.

Since 2021, the federal agency has completed more than 1,600 investigations, and recovered almost $29 million in back wages and damages for nearly 25,000 workers, with employer fines totaling more than $1 million.

Disclosure: Faith in Texas contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Civic Engagement, Human Rights/Racial Justice, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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