Home Care Agencies, Straighten Up #2


Yesterday I talked about background checks for what feels like the 20th time, and I probably will another 20, until home care agencies fix their process – or are told to do so by legislation.

Today’s tantrum is the other side of the coin, relative to professional caregivers — how employers should treat them, after hiring.  Frankly, in many cases, that treatment is not good.  Here are two examples, which happened to the same person, after being hired by a local outlet of one of the major franchise companies.

  • The new employee was told to show up on a specific date, at a specific time, for a multi-hour orientation, covering policies, procedures, document signing, all the stuff that goes into new employee orientations.  There was only one catch.  The new employee would not be paid for the orientation, and would not be considered an employee of the company until she got her first assignment (more to come on that little bit).  Now, I doubt very much that this is the policy of the franchisor, because they usually have better lawyers, but, in our opinion, this is either ignorant or intentionally in violation of labor law.  If you tell me to be somewhere, for 4+ hours, to sign a bunch of papers saying I understand and will conform to policies covering employees, guess what?  I am an employee, and I better be paid for that time.
  • That bit to which I said I would come back?  This person was told that she would not be an official employee until she got her first assignment.  That is bogus, right there.  But, how was she supposed to get her first assignment?  She would be entered into a “beauty contest” with other employees (or “non-employees”) to interview with prospective clients.  If the potential client selected her, she would become an employee.  So, leaving aside the non-trivial issue about when she becomes an employee, this practice is absolutely ludicrous.  Aside from being an insult to the employee (yes, that is what she is), it is a violation of the role of the employer.  It is the home care agency’s, the employer’s responsibility to make assignments of caregivers to clients.  Why?  Because the agency is the employer!  The client is not — or should not be — the employer, making the hiring decision.  You are putting the client and family in a position of jeopardy with the state and the feds, in terms of responsibility for taxes, insurances, and other responsibilities that belong to the employer!

Come on home care agencies, straighten up.  Treat your employees and your clients with respect and attention to the fiduciary responsibility that you have toward both parties.

And, yes, there will be a #3.

Best wishes.  Bert

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2 responses to “Home Care Agencies, Straighten Up #2

  1. Any type of nursing assistant working in these capacities are treated like dog-doo. Extremely low pay + high expectations + lack of employer support, etc. = burnout and elder neglect or (God forbid) abuse for sure.

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    • In too many cases, you are right. Our society, including medical insurance, Medicare, undervalue what caregivers do, in terms of positive impact on health. Until that changes, while we pay our employees 20%-30% more than most agencies, they still do not earn enough. Thank you. Bert

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