Several employees arrived at Sweet Home Healthcare's Harrisburg branch to find the doors closed on South 25th Street Friday despite the 9-5pm hours listed on the door.
"They just sent us an email that said we are doing our best to answer every call. We understand your frustration with the delay of payroll," said Sharayne Cook, who claimed she hasn't been paid in three weeks. Cook read another message she claimed she received from the company stating, "We are not able to process payroll for 1/3/20. We are still working to get this done ASAP."
On Friday, several of the employees decided to take action by walking two doors down from the business where the office of State Representative Patty Kim is located.
Rep. Kim's office employees handed each Sweet Home employee a pamphlet with two numbers to call.
"We have a packet made up for them which all they have to do is call these two numbers, give their complaint," said Victoria Moreta, who works for Rep. Kim. The packet contained numbers for the PA Department of Labor and Industry and the PA Attorney General.
FOX43 reached out to both agencies asking about any complaints filed against the company. The Pennsylvania Attorney General only said 'no comment.' The Department of Labor provided FOX43 with an email (which is listed below in full) detailing resources for patients and Sweet Home employees.
"They're having us work like we're slaves. We're not that," said Virginia Veal, who also came to Rep. Kim's office seeking help after she claimed she had not been paid by the company.
FOX43 is attempting to reach Sweet Home Healthcare through phone, email and social media. Sweet Home Healthcare's website describes the company as a home health care agency with offices throughout Pennsylvania and Ohio.
This statement was released by the State's Department of Labor:
The Wolf Administration, including the departments of Human Services, Health, and Labor & Industry, are closely monitoring the developing situation involving the licensed in-home care provider Sweet Home Healthcare’s recent failure to make its payroll. Sweet Home Healthcare and its affiliates provide in-home care services to individuals in eastern and central Pennsylvania, primarily older adults and individuals with disabilities.
Continuity of Service
These Medicaid programs are administered by the Office of Long-Term Living and Office of Developmental Programs in the Department of Human Services (DHS). Specific service types provided by Sweet Home Healthcare and covered by Medicaid include: personal assistance services, respite, residential services, in-home and community support, home health aides and nursing services.
DHS is coordinating with the three Community HealthChoices managed care organizations and local administrative entities/counties to ensure that business challenges do not result in service disruptions or inadequate care for program participants. Steps taken include:
All program participants are being directly contacted and in some cases on-site visits are being scheduled to ensure health and safety needs are being met. In the case of a missed shift or other service disruption, DHS and the managed care organizations are working to promptly respond with services from qualified providers.
When program participants request a change or there is evidence of service disruption, service coordinators at the managed care organizations are offering participants the opportunity to switch to a new in-home care agency and expedited assistance with this process.
DHS and the three Community HealthChoices managed care organizations are tracking and responding immediately to any complaints from participants about service disruptions or other concerns.
DHS is working with the Department of Health (DOH), which licenses home care agencies, to monitor the situation and share pertinent information.
The Department of Health is responsible for licensing home care agencies and home health agencies in Pennsylvania. The DOH is in constant communication with our state partners regarding the safety and well-being of those affected by these concerns.
The Department of Labor & Industry has not received a Worker Adjustment Retraining Notification (WARN) from Sweet Home Health Care regarding layoffs. When a closure or layoffs occur, the department’s Rapid Response Services team contacts the business to offer services to any employees affected by layoffs.
L&I’s Rapid Response program provides resources to companies to try to avoid layoffs, and provides services to help mitigate the hardship and stress displaced workers and residents face when dealing with an unanticipated loss of income due to a plant closure, mass layoff event, or natural disaster.
Sweet Home Healthcare employees who wish to file a labor complaint for lost wages should contact their regional Labor Law Compliance Office. The Harrisburg District Office is 1-800-932-0665; the Philadelphia District Office is 1-877-817-9497; and the Scranton District Office can be reached at 1-877-214-3962.
Employees can also email the Bureau of Labor Law Compliance at RA-LI-SLMR-LLC@pa.gov or file an online Wage Complaint Form.
-Theresa Elliott | Deputy Communications Director