Mediating Wage and Hour Disputes within the Care Home Industry

Mae Villanueva

Apr 2023

Most wage and hour cases are resolved by settlement, and many of those settlements are reached as a result of mediation. For this reason, it is essential for parties involved in a wage dispute to understand the mediation process and choose a mediator who understands both the applicable wage laws and the care home industry.

Care Homes or Residential Care Facilities (RCFs) are sometimes referred to as Assisted Living, Board and Care or Adult Residential facilities. RCFs provide room, housekeeping, supervision, storage and distribution of medication, and personal care assistance with activities such as dressing, eating, bathing, and cooking for people over 60 who do not require constant medical care. Caregivers are responsible for the care and supervision of the residents.

California has over 8,100 licensed Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFE). RCFEs can provide various levels of care for residents who are high functioning/independent, require hospice care, or have dementia or Alzheimer’s. RCFEs also offer 24-hour care or supervision, which means there is always a caregiver on the premises as required by California law that facility staff should always be adequate in number. This industry practice is one factor that contributes to wage and hour disputes. Staffing a residential care home that operates 24 hours a day can be costly for owners because of California’s numerous wage and hour laws governing overtime, minimum wage, meal and rest breaks, record keeping and the interplay with the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Wage disputes can be critical to the employee’s personal finances and the viability of small businesses. For this reason, it is essential to choose a mediator with experience in wage and hour disputes and familiarity with the RCF industry and its practice. A mediator who understands the pertinent wage laws and the care home industry will be able to help parties craft a creative and sustainable settlement agreement.

Mae Villanueva is a wage and hour mediator and technical expert in wage and hour disputes involving the residential care facility or care home industry. She started her career in the legal field in 2012. For nearly a decade, Mae was a paralegal at a law firm that specializes in complex wage and hour litigation within the Residential Care Facilities industry. Her years of experience and knowledge in investigating wage claims, calculating unpaid wages, liquidated damages, meal and rest break premiums, statutory penalties, and interests make her well-qualified to mediate wage and hour disputes. In addition, Mae has mediated over 100 litigated cases with the Alameda County Superior Court and in her private practice. She currently sits on the Mediation Panel of Alameda County Superior Court and holds a Master’s in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution. With Mae’s experience and knowledge in wage and hour disputes and mediation skills, parties can be confident that they will have the best chance at reaching a sustainable resolution.

Looking for a mediator in the Danville area? Call me at (925) 336-5272.