HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The U.S. Department of Labor recovered over $960,000 in back wages from two Rio Grande Valley health care agencies.

“Too often, the U.S. Department of Labor finds employers like four Texas and Louisiana providers who fail to hold up their part of the bargain by not paying nearly 600 employees all the wages they’ve earned,” a news release from the U.S. Department of Labor stated.

According to the release, Ace Primary Homecare Inc., in Pharr, and Fernandez Care Assistance LLC in San Juan failed to properly pay employees.

The release details that Ace Primary Homecare adjusted the rate of pay for employees to make it appear they paid overtime premium, but the employer was actually paying straight time for overtime hours worked.

“The division calculated that 400 employees were owed $841,244 in overtime back wages,” the release stated.

The U.S. Department of Labor stated that Fernandez Care Assistance LLC failed to pay the additional overtime premium to employees, and owed them $122,944 in overtime back wages.

The DOL also named two other agencies in their investigation: the Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans in Laredo, and Guardian Angels Care Services Inc., in Alexandria, Louisiana. In all, $1,207,162 in back wages were recovered.

“The majority of the home healthcare industry’s workers are women of color and despite the critical work they do – and the tremendous compassion and commitment they show – their hourly wage rates remain among the lowest in the nation,” Southwest Regional Wage and Hour Administrator Betty Campbell said in the release.

“While our nation honors their service during National Home Health Care Month in November, the U.S. Department of Labor is determined to make sure employers respect their rights as workers, including the right to be paid proper and full wages as dictated by federal law.”