TFC News

CA labor department: health care agencies owe Filipino workers $1.9M

Steve Angeles | TFC News Long Beach, California

Posted at Oct 01 2022 04:36 PM

Watch more News on iWantTFC

Filipino workers gathered outside of a nursing services company, demanding backwages.

The California Labor Commissioner's office has issued a citation on Angel Connection Inc and the J Jireh Group. It said those related companies had misclassified their workers, mostly Filipino caregivers, as independent contractors in an effort to avoid paying required wages, workers compensation insurance, and payroll taxes.

The firms have been ordered to pay about $1.9  million in backwages and penalties.

Due to statutes of limitations, the investigation covered a period from 2018 to 2020.

Caregivers said they worked for 24 hours a day for 6 days straight as live-in caregivers, earning as little as $6.25 an hour. That's well below the 12 dollar minimum wage at the time, with no overtime pay.

"Being a live-in caregiver means that I also do things other than caregiving, like cooking and preparing meals, cleaning the house, and so on and so forth. Usually I don’t get proper meal or rest breaks, no proper sleep time because I am constantly watching my client. There is no such thing as sleeping throughout the night," former Angel Connect employee 'Maria' shared. "Hundreds of thousands of dollars were stolen from me as a live-in caregiver. I'll say that again, hundreds of thousands of dollars of stolen wages just for one person."

66 workers are currently involved in the case, but advocates are hoping more will come forward.

Over the past few years, the Pilipino Workers Center has been at the forefront of several wage theft cases involving caregivers in the region.

"This is one of the biggest cases the labor commissioners' office has had against a homeware agency, and some of the previous cases we've done are RCFE, Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly, or Board and Care facilities that tend to have more assets actually," Aquilina Soriano Versoza of the Pilipino Workers Center said.

Angel Connection has not responded to ABS-CBN News’ request for comment, but they are reportedly planning to appeal the citation.

The next steps will include several hearings with all the involved parties, a process that may take a few years before any wages are collected.