New York, August 12, 2015
With the recent rise of minimum wage above the federal minimum wage by cities and localities, it is feared that without stronger enforcement many workers will be cheated out of their legal wage. Back in December 2014 a Department of Labor report estimated that there were 560,000 violations of minimum wage laws totaling 33 million dollars, in New York and California alone! The Department of labor Statistics stated in 2014 that nation wide approximately 1.7 million workers, 2/3 or them woman, were paid less than the federally mandated minimum wage of 7.25 per hour. The Department of Labors 1,000 investigators already have a daunting job trying to police 7.3 million businesses and their 135 million employees. In the last fiscal year, federal investigators recovered $270 million in back wages for 270,000 workers.
When a city or municipality increase minimum wage above and beyond the federal rate, any worker grievances pertaining to minimum wage are not the jurisdiction of the federal department of labor, but would fall to the city or municipality. San Francisco, which increased its minimum wage to 12.15 per hour in May 2015, with future increases to $15 in 2018, has created its own labor enforcement division to insure compliance with their new minimum wage. Unfortunately at the moment this is the exception not the rule. Many cities and municipalities who are increasing their minimum wage above the federal level do not have an adequate enforcement division to ensure employers pay their workers the legal minimum wage. In locations where adequate enforcement of minimum wage laws is lacking, it is always possible to file a civil lawsuit against an offending employer.
To file a complaint concerning Federal Minimum wage:
U.S. Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time