Posted March 16, 2016
Following is a statement from Christine Owens, executive director with the National Employment Law Project:
The National Employment Law Project thanks and commends Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) for introducing The Wage Theft Prevention and Wage Recovery Act. This important piece of legislation is long overdue.
As documented in NELP’s groundbreaking study, Broken Laws, Unprotected Workers, the nation is experiencing a wage theft epidemic of staggering proportions. While all low-wage workers face heightened vulnerability to wage theft, immigrant workers, women workers, and workers of color are the most prone to the myriad ways that unscrupulous employers steal their workers’ pay. And our federal and state labor departments simply do not have the resources they need to adequately fight these workplace violations alone.
The Wage Theft Prevention and Wage Recovery Act is a comprehensive bill that incorporates the best practices for preventing and remedying wage theft. Provisions include requirements for payment of the promised wage, rather than just the federal minimum wage; paystub transparency; increased damages for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act; stronger recordkeeping rules and protections against retaliation; a longer statute of limitations; and a grant program to enlist community organizations in the fight against wage theft.
Collectively, these provisions ensure the Act will go a long way toward levelling the playing field, both for workers who are asking for the simple right to be paid the legal wage for the work performed, and for law-abiding employers who play by the rules but are undercut by unscrupulous businesses that steal workers’ wages for competitive advantage.
NELP stands ready to work with the Act’s chief sponsors to ensure that it receives full consideration in Congress and is signed into law.