Many residential care facilities are saying that the allegations of wage theft is questionable, as it may just be due to lack of understanding of how the residential care facilities operate especially with live-in caregivers. The live-in caregiver model in residential care facilities started in the 1970’s to promote continuity of care in a home-like setting.
This is a statement from the Labor Department, dating back to May 3, 1939, may be the key:
The Division has long recognized that the fact that an employee resides on the employer’s premises “does not mean that the employee is necessarily working 24 hours a day.” Wage and Hour Interpretive Bulletin No. 13 (May 3, 1939). The Division concluded in Interpretive Bulletin No. 13 that an employer may exclude payment for the extended periods of inactivity that occur when an employee resides on the premises, because the employee is generally able “to carry on a normal routine of living” during such periods. These principles are now set forth in the regulations at section 785.23.
(Source Wage and Hours: Dept. Of Labor)