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Sweet Home employees receive a check & are told to come back for more

Several employees at Sweet Home Healthcare received a check Friday after they claim they haven’t been paid in weeks. However, employees told FOX43 the che...

Several employees at Sweet Home Healthcare received a check Friday after they claim they haven't been paid in weeks.

However, employees told FOX43 the check was only for a week's pay and that they were told to return Monday for more money.

The checks the employees received appeared to be hand-written, personal checks.

"They emailed us and said two days ago they were going to give us two weeks. This is one week," said Milgros Carmone, after she received her paycheck. She added, "What is this? This is crazy. That's not fair."

The handout came after employees told FOX43 they were promised checks on Friday. Employees started gathered in the parking lot around 2 p.m. to receive them.

Earlier in the day FOX43 arrived to find people exiting a Sweet Home Healthcare vehicle. Everyone inside that vehicle would not comment as they entered Sweet Home and the door was locked behind them.

FOX 43's Jamie Bittner later entered Sweet Home Healthcare again when the door was unlocked. The employees inside told FOX43 to leave and contact the company by phone. No one has responded to FOX43's multiple requests for comment at the Sweet Home location, by phone at the Philadelphia or Harrisburg office, or by email.

Back on January 6th Fernando Vega Jr. was one of the employees who wouldn't allow FOX43 inside the doors of the Sweet Home Harrisburg office. But Friday, he spoke to FOX43 after he said, much of the office quit.

As for why the business wouldn't allow FOX43 inside for a statement back on the 6th, he said, "that's what we were told not to do. But, we said at the end of the day we should have let you in," he said. Vega said he was also not being paid by the company.

"I think we got affected because everyone thinks it's our fault and it wasn't our fault. It was everyone in corporate," Fernando said.

Several employees have made their way to the office of Rep. Patty Kim, which is located two doors down from Sweet Home.

"Because we've been getting such a high number of folks coming in, we put together packets to help them navigate through the state departments," said Rep. Kim. Her office is providing Sweet Home employees with pamphlets that include numbers to reach the Pennsylvania Attorney General and the Department of Labor.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General said 'no comment' on the issue.

This statement was released previously by the State's Department of Labor and the Department of Human Services:

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.

Assisting Employees

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.