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Nassau comptroller: Shelter providers underpaid workers

Sister Aimee Koonmen, of Roosevelt, is one of

Sister Aimee Koonmen, of Roosevelt, is one of the founders of Bethany House. (Oct. 5, 2012) (Credit: Nancy Borowick)

Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos announced Wednesday that two agencies providing emergency shelter for the county — Bethany House in Roosevelt and Glory House Recovery in Hempstead — had been violating Nassau’s Living Wage Law by underpaying some employees.

“All organizations have an obligation to ensure compliance with the County’s Living Wage Law. While we are pleased with the response from these agencies, in which they agree to repay the affected employees, their lapse is inexcusable,” Maragos said in a statement.

Sister Aimee Koonmen, who runs Bethany House, said the wage law, enacted in 2006, was not clearly described. “Three of our workers waived insurance because their spouses had it,” she said, “and we classified part-time workers as those with under 30 hours a week. It’s 20 under Living Wage.”


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Maragos said his audits, covering Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2012, showed seven Bethany House workers being underpaid a total of $10,056.

“This underpayment was rectified after meeting with the comptroller’s staff and the employees were compensated for the underpayment,” he added.

Glory House recovery director Terenna Williams likewise said the law was not clear. “But as soon as the auditors told us, we rectified it,” she said. One employee was reimbursed $1,523.

Both agencies have set up new policies adhering to the law.

The living wage is currently $15.21 an hour without health benefits or $13.35 with them.
 

Tags: Nassau , shelters , underpaid , workers , towns

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