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January 28, 2010

Comptroller Maragos Releases Follow-Up Audit of Health Care Provider;

Finds Employees Pay Corrected but Compensated Days Off Policy Needs Work

As part of a new initiative to ensure audits performed by his office result in improvements to taxpayer services and cost savings, Comptroller George Maragos released a follow-up audit of Premier Health Care Services.

"My goal as Comptroller is not only to find waste and abuse of taxpayer funds but also to ensure all waste and abuse come to an end,” Comptroller Maragos said. “That is why my office will follow-up on audits to make sure the changes we recommend do not fall on deaf ears. In the case of Premier, vast improvements were made over the prior audit results but we still found areas that need improvement.”

An audit of Premier Health Care Services for the year 2007 revealed that over $15,000 were due to employees for underpayments of wages and the compensated days off policy did not comply with the Nassau County Living Wage Law. Upon our request, Premier recalculated 2007 compensated time off to comply with the Law and paid its employees an additional $5,000. A follow-up showed the monies due to the employees were paid but their policy for compensated days off still had deficiencies.

Premier Health Care Services provides Medicaid eligible Nassau County residents who qualify for assistance with a personal care aide.  

Premier’s policy for compensated days off included preconditions for earning time off that violate the Living Wage Law’s rules. The Law that Premier agreed to follow provides full-time employees no fewer than 12 paid days off per year for sick leave, vacation or personal necessity. Part-time employees who work twenty or more hours per week accrue such leave in increments proportional to the rate of accrual for full-time employees.

The Comptroller’s office requested Premier issue a Living Wage policy for compensated days off that conforms to the covered employees’ entitlements under the Living Wage Law. In response to the follow-up, Premier agreed to amend its policy for compensated days off to conform with the Law and said they will communicate the policy to its employees.

Nassau County’s Living Wage Law was enacted in 2007 and is aimed at ensuring that employees of Nassau County contractors earn a decent hourly wage, receive health or child care benefits or a benefits supplement, and paid days off. 

In 2007 the Living Wage Law set hourly wages from $9.50 in 2007, annually increasing to $12.50 in August of 2010. Currently, the wage is set at $11.50 with health benefits or $13.10 without benefits.

PDF File Limited Audit of Premier Health Care Services, Inc.'s Compliance with the Nassau County Living Wage Law