Local News

Paychecks Again An Issue With Retirement Care Company

Posted March 29, 2006

— The staff at The Meadows of Wilson says it's dedicated to caring for elderly residents as if they were family. When it comes to pay, most say the parent company Caremerica doesn't care at all.

"We're tired of it," said employee Janie Green. "We're just absolutely fed up with it."

Green and fellow employee Ernestine Best say workers there got their last paycheck three days late.

"I couldn't get it cashed," said Best. "I went everywhere trying to get it cashed and couldn't, because they don't have any money in the bank."

"Why is it every time it's time to get paid, we have problems?" asked Green. "We can't cash our checks nowhere in Wilson."

In January, Wilson employees walked off the job when they didn't get paid. Workers reported similar problems at several Caremerica facilities, including homes in Rocky Mount and Raleigh.

"When people work and don't get their money, I think its a very serious matter," said state Labor Department spokesman Henry Sasser.

Sasser says the department is investigating. He says Caremerica owes about $52,000 in back wages, which they're required to pay up by June.

"Anytime they're not making current payroll, there is always that concern, 'Well, what's going to happen with the back wages?'" said Sasser.

If pay problems continue, Sasser says they may have to file a lawsuit with the Attorney General's office. A Caremerica spokeswoman says its payroll management company made a mistake that delayed fund transfers, triggering the most recent pay problems. She's says they're working to prevent further issues.

"They need to go ahead and do what they say they're going to do," said Green. "What are we going to have to do, walk out and leave the residents?"

Workers at the Wilson facility say they don't want to do that; they just want the company to take care of them on payday. The State Labor Department says Careamerica must continue to make payroll on time as part of their agreement. Workers say residents are being properly cared for, despite pay issues.

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