Raising hourly pay is a rallying cry for 2018, but states often fail to get workers the money that’s owed them.
February 18, 2018
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Tags: Wage Theft, Workers Rights
Organizations mentioned/involved: Public Justice Center (PJC), Community Legal Services (CLS) of Philadelphia, Legal Aid Society (New York City), Urban Justice Center (UJC) (New York City), National Employment Law Project (NY)
As Democrats make raising the minimum wage a centerpiece of their 2018 campaigns, and Republicans call for states to handle the issue, both are missing an important problem: Wage laws are poorly enforced, with workers often unable to recover back pay even after the government rules in their favor.
That’s the conclusion of a nine-month investigation by POLITICO, which found that workers are so lightly protected that six states have no investigators to handle minimum-wage violations, while 26 additional states have fewer than 10 investigators. Given the widespread nature of wage theft and the dearth of resources to combat it, most cases go unreported. Thus, an estimated $15 billion in desperately needed income for workers with lowest wages goes instead into the pockets of shady bosses.