Behind the minimum wage fight, a sweeping failure to enforce the law

from Politico

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.

But even those workers who are able to brave the system and win — to get states to order their bosses to pay them what they’re owed — confront a further barrier: Fully 41 percent of the wages that employers are ordered to pay back to their workers aren’t recovered, according to a POLITICO survey of 15 states.

That’s partly because, in addition to lacking resources, states lack the tools to go after the landscaping firms, restaurants, cleaning companies and other employers that shed one corporate skin for another, changing names while essentially continuing the same businesses — often to evade orders to pay back their workers…

[read more here]

5 Responses

  1. Forgot how to put up a comment on another issue, Scott and Jan, so I’ll put it here.

    Just so you’ll know (and maybe keep your fingers crossed for me), had major plumbing problems in our bathroom. Sewer line under the floor broke and water flooded the floor there and the bedroom below it. Problem is fixed now, but lots of repair work to be done. It’ll keep me busy for a while, so if you don’t see me on the site, that will be the reason.

    • Sorry about your problem. Sounds serious. Hope nothing froze. Wish we could come over and help…. Scott has superb carpenter training. Just a long reach across the states. Bathrooms always seem to be problem makers.

      • It’s an old house with the original plumbing, Jan. I’ve been trying to keep ahead of things, but something was bound to give out. I just hope we can finish out our lives here without any more major problems. Can’t be too much longer.

        • Whoa there, Roy. You and Pat have at least 25 more years. I am counting on it. We will be yapping at each other and laughing at the memories of the bad times that ended up good for all. 🙂

          • OK, Jan. I’m counting on it, since you told me. 🙂

            You two take care of each other, too, so we can keep on yapping.

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