February 2, 2023

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DOL to add 100 wage and hour investigators

Dive Brief:

  • The U.S. Division of Labor will include 100 investigators to assistance its Wage and Hour Division, the company announced earlier this thirty day period
  • Investigators will carry out investigations to assure personnel are getting their whole wages, encourage compliance by means of outreach and public education and learning systems and support in initiatives to battle from employee retaliation and the misclassification of personnel as impartial contractors.
  • “Introducing 100 investigators to our team is an crucial move in the ideal course,” Performing Wage and Hour Administrator Jessica Looman mentioned in the agency’s launch. “We foresee noticeably far more selecting exercise afterwards in fiscal calendar year 2022.”

Dive Insight:

DOL’s choosing thrust for wage and hour investigators, alongside with its guarantee of “considerably more selecting” to arrive, indicators the agency’s intensifying concentration on employers’ violations of wage and hour guidelines. 

The go aligns with the Biden administration’s demonstrated fascination in workers’ legal rights, which has taken form in many methods, which include the collection of former union official Marty Walsh as Secretary of Labor and the issuance of an govt purchase last April that needed a least wage of $15 for each hour for federal contractors.  

Wage theft — the denial of an employee’s rightly-owed wages or benefits — has been a significant labor violation for a long time. Typical violations include things like failure to pay back time beyond regulation failure to abide by the neighborhood, point out or federal least wage guidelines suggestion theft failure to permit breaks and failure to let unpaid, job-shielded go away next childbirth or for a medical condition, as demanded by the Loved ones and Health care Go away Act.

According to an analysis of DOL facts by the Economic Coverage Institute, a progressive consider tank, DOL’s Wage and Hour Division recovered $257.8 million in back again wages for staff in fiscal yr 2020, $322.5 million in fiscal 12 months 2019, $304.9 in fiscal calendar year 2018 and $270.4 million in fiscal calendar year 2017. Extra than 1 million personnel received recovered wages throughout this time period, with an normal of more than $1,000 per employee. 

Important employees and immigrant employees are particularly vulnerable to wage theft. DOL’s evaluation of lower-wage, higher-violation industries for 2021 demonstrates food stuff products and services, development and retail guide in circumstances. In December, the EPI produced a report displaying that migrant personnel with H-1B visas working as subcontractors at companies like Disney, Google and FedEx have been underpaid by at the very least $95 million. HCL Systems, the India-centered staffing business that positioned these employees, employed underpayment as a “aggressive tactic,” EPI alleged following reviewing the firm’s inner paperwork. 

The DOL is cracking down on worker misclassification, a approach some companies flirted with in anticipation of the Occupational Security and Health Administration’s nationwide vaccine mandate for employers (which the U.S. Supreme Court has given that stayed). The company named a current choice by a Virginia federal court demanding a healthcare staffing agency to pay back $7.2 million in again wages and damages to extra than 1,000 staff an “unequivocal information” on misclassification.

HR professionals can support be certain their place of work is not violating employees’ wage and hour rights by reviewing the pertinent laws, which includes the Honest Labor Benchmarks Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act.