‘Wage Theft’ Robs Billions From Workers Each Year – Study

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US workers lose more than $50 billion annually in wage theft by employers, whether by being asked to work “off the clock” or not being paid properly, a study by the Economic Policy Institute states.

“Given that wage theft disproportionately affects workers from low-income households – who are already struggling to make ends meet – the loss of wages can be devastating,” lead author Celine McNicholas from the Economic Policy Institute said.

Through the efforts of the federal Department of Labor, state labor departments and private lawyers, almost $2 billion has been recovered in 39 states during 2015 and 2016. But with the wage theft estimated at more than $50 billion per year, that represents just a fraction of the losses.

Wage theft occurs when employers refuse to pay promised wages, remunerate employees for only some of the hours they worked, or fail in overtime payments when an employee works for more than 40 hours in a week.

“This constitutes theft of nearly 10 percent of a minimum wage employee’s annual earnings – which can mean the difference between paying the rent and utilities or risking eviction or the loss of gas, water, or electric service,” the report said.

A full-time minimum wage worker earns $7.25 an hour, around $15,000 a year. If an employer asks workers to work 15 minutes “off the clock” before and after an 8-hour shift, the extra half hour of unpaid work amounts to around $1,400 per year, the report states.

Several cities have passed legislation empowering local law enforcement to police wage theft. Under the Obama administration, the Department of Labor hired more investigators to go after problematic employers. It is unclear what will happen to the program under the Trump administration, which requested a 21 percent cut in the department’s budget for fiscal year 2018, according to Bloomberg.

California recovered nearly $117 million for workers between 2015 and 2016, followed by New York which won back $84.6 million. When adjusted by the size of the workforce, Connecticut, with its 1.6 million workers, was able to recover $9.66 per capita over those two years. By comparison, Indiana, with its 3.3 million workers, only recovered 19 cents per capita.

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  • elbustaroyjetspeekerson

    “If an employer asks workers to work 15 minutes “off the clock” before and after an 8-hour shift…”
    Don’t just say no, although one should absolutely do that first. Get an investigation going by the appropriate ‘official entity’, and then if necessary, kick your bosses’ ass. Ok, scratch that. Kick their ass FIRST. We all know that is the only satisfaction most will ever get.

    • So instead of initiating an investigation of illegality, it is best to commit illegality yourself?

    • Undecider

      Take longer bathroom breaks.

  • darkhorse

    …all goes to Israel

    • Billy Sharpshooter

      Would not surprise me at all. But Merry Xmas to you Darkhorse and the many irrepressible characters I have met here. Christ our Saviour was born on Xmas Day.

      • darkhorse

        what a disgusting TALMUDIST HASBARA you are… get thee behind me, SATAN

        • Billy Sharpshooter

          Your mindset is what is hurting you Darkhorse, Not my postings. Not no group, religion or body of people. You will only suffer until you see the error of your ways.

          • elbustaroyjetspeekerson

            Wastin’ yer time, Billy, wastin’ your time.

          • darkhorse

            Song stealer bottom feeder

          • elbustaroyjetspeekerson

            Merry Fucking Christmess to you too, psychotwat.

          • darkhorse

            going by the filthy mouths of you and your wife I get a good picture of what raised you… never mind by the ease with which you tried to steal MY intellectual property… dumb as a box of rocks you two are

          • darkhorse

            maybe Santa will leave you a song under the tree… you can pass it off as yours!!!

          • darkhorse

            Tel Aviv or Haifa?

          • darkhorse

            you guys on here don’t have the balls to come out and speak the truth about it being the Jews behind all the bad stuff… you’re the biggest wimps in this country…blah blah blah on your keyboards and do nothing else..that’s as far as your political action goes… catching on to why I have so much respect for LaVoy Finicum? He was a real MAN, and a Patriot…and he DID something about this scum government…not like any of you…too afraid to SPEAK THE TRUTH…wimping out… no wonder you don’t like ME speaking the Truth… I put you to shame

  • Hates Liberals

    Wage theft is alive and well in Florida where most of the employers are still paying 1980’s wages, hiring illegals for $6 hr and engaging in age discrimination in hiring.

  • Cynical Old Bastard

    Just tell ’em to fuck off. It’s not theft if you allow it to happen.

    To be honest, most people are not even worth minimum wage.