National and state wage and hour laws are important legal protections to hourly workers in Wisconsin and elsewhere in the country. Unfortunately, many workers that get paid by the hour do not receive proper compensation. In an effort to remind businesses of their responsibilities to workers, the Obama Administration is stepping up enforcement of federal wage and hour laws. According to the Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis, industries like health-care, construction and tourism are especially in the lens of the enforcement effort.
As a way to increase the enforcement of wage and hour laws, the Labor Department is supporting a proposal that would require employers to provide workers with more information about their pay in order to reduce wage and hour violations like minimum wage and overtime rule violations. The proposed plan would require companies to give employees a report that explains how their pay and hours are established. The report would also help ensure that workers are paid for overtime. The Secretary of Labor said, “Wage theft occurs and it’s to make accountable businesses not playing by the rules.”
The Administration is also stepping up enforcement of wage and hour laws. Last year, employers in the United States paid $6.5 million in back wages, which is more than twice the amount from the previous year.
Wage and hour law violations remain common. A study of 4,400 low-wage workers in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York that was conducted in 2009 demonstrated that over one-quarter of workers did not receive the applicable minimum wage and over three-quarters were not paid for overtime. The surveyed workers were a part of the retail, home healthcare, construction and food service industries.
Source: Bloomberg, “Violations of wage laws targeted in crackdown, Solis says,” Stephanie Armour, Aug. 31, 2011