Lawmakers act to ensure workers receive just payment for time

In spite of the fact that every state has its own wage and hours laws, there are still many employees who are victims of wage theft. However, federal lawmakers recently took action to ensure that workers receive just payment for the hours they work. If the new bill is passed, it would benefit workers in every state, including California.

According to the lawmakers who have stepped up to sponsor the proposed bill, an estimated $15 billion is unjustly withheld from employees every year. The new bill, which is entitled the Wage Theft Prevention and Wage Recovery Act, would put the emphasis on fining employers who are found guilty of withholding just pay from workers. It also increases the amounts that employees can be awarded and the time frame they have to file a complaint against a company.

The proposed law has bi-partisan support and seeks to ensure that workers are entitled to receive the full amount of their wages and not the previous amounts that were stipulated to be paid at minimum wage and any overtime that applied. If the bill passes, workers would be eligible to collect up to three times the amount withheld in damages in some situations. The law would also require employers to provide workers with regular pay statements and to issue employees their final pay within 14 days or within the regularly scheduled pay period -- whichever is the shorter period.

The main focus of the bill would be to hold employers accountable through steeper fines for violations. Lawmakers stated that it is hoped that tougher laws would benefit all workers, but especially the low-wage employees as they may be more vulnerable to wage theft. All California workers are entitled to receive their full payment for the hours they work. Whenever an employee has been a victim of wage theft or other unjust practices, he or she may seek a remedy through the assistance of an experienced employment law professional.

Source: workdayminnesota.com, "Federal lawmakers seek to crack down on wage theft", Mark Gruenberg, Aug. 20, 2017

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